All generation plants in Texas reviewed their winterizing protocols after February 2011, when freezing temperatures over a six-day period resulted in the loss of more than 80 generating units that either could not start or could not operate at capacity due to prolonged freezing temperatures. That led to six hours of rotating blackouts throughout Texas until sufficient generation was available.
Power plants in the south are not built with as much or the same types of insulation as plants in northern areas because prolonged periods of freezing temperatures are not common during winter months in the southern states and excess insulation can hamper the efficiency of plants operating during long hot summers.
Austin Energy plant personnel are also inspecting instrumentation that could be affected by freezing temperatures. This includes checking portable heaters located strategically to protect sensitive instrumentation. These winter checks are expected to be completed by the end of November. Austin Energy has two power plants located in Austin: the Decker Creek Power Station and the Sand Hill Energy Center. Both plants operate on natural gas.