Residents also criticized the city for not using its text alert system and for not providing details about the scope of the crisis and how long they might go without electricity. But Sargent said Thursday morning that officials opted to wait because of the fluidity of the situation.
“The texting feature is a bit challenging, because if you’re going to text out information, you want to have accurate information,” she said.
Complicating matters for people without electricity, Austin Energy’s online outage reporting tool crashed Wednesday evening. The company asked people to call in their issues instead but customers faced long wait times on their telephone line.
The reporting tool was back up and running Thursday. Sargent said the utility’s system was overwhelmed by the “unusually high” volume of inquiries from residents Wednesday, but it has since worked to manage the demand for information.