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CPS Energy estimates 3,000 customers may not get power back until Saturday morning

CPS Energy

More than 12,000 CPS Energy customers lost power in early morning thunderstorms Friday that downed tree branches and power lines. Late Friday afternoon, some 3,000 customers were still without service. 

A statement late Friday from the utility said equipment that normally could be repaired must be replaced. CPS Energy is bringing an average of 50-200 customers back on at a time, even though all available CPS Energy work crews, plus contractor crews, are working to restore power.

This much damage from lighting strikes is relatively rare,” said Richard Medina, the utility’s senior director of system planning & technical services, “and it’s meant really slow-going getting damaged equipment replaced, while also maintaining our high safety standards.”

Power started going out around 2 a.m. Friday in a widespread area across the city, downing multiple power lines and damaging utility poles, especially in Northwest San Antonio.

CPS Energy spokesman John Moreno said crews began working early this morning to restore power, but the outages are numerous.

"At one point, we had 12,500 customers without service," Moreno said. "We had a total of 86 of our 669 circuits affected. Just for a reference point, one circuit can serve a couple hundred to a couple of thousands people, depending on where the circuit is located."

Utility crews tackled the major circuits first so they could restore power to the greatest number of homes. As crews continue to work, CPS Energy urges residents to treat any downed power line as live and stay away, and to keep food from spoiling by keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

"Mainly it's to maintain the unit's temperature," Moreno said. "Opening it up, it doesn't have a way to recover if there's no electricity in the home. So maintaining it as cold as possible means you're trying to minimize the number of times you're opening up the refrigerator door."

Moreno said the outages were scattered across the area, but the greatest number of outages occurred in northeast San Antonio and near 281 and 1604, and it could be Saturday morning before those restorations are possible.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.