BOIL WATER NOTICE for Devine, East Medina, Lytle, and Natalia

Due to precautionary reasons, nearly all local entities are notifying customers to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions).

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses).

Urgent: Devine residents AEP is attempting to turn power ON! Please Help make a success!

Officials have some good news and important warnings for the residents in City of Devine. The electric company will be trying to turn the power on soon, and they are hoping everyone will cooperate so that it doesn’t overload again.

“City received notice AEP will be powering up electricity to day. This is a gradual process but imperative everyone TURNS OFF WATER HEATERS AND KEEPS THERMOSTATS IN THE 60’S. Please do these things so we have a smooth transition,” said Councilwoman Kathy Lawler.
Also remember to BOIL WATER.

Related topics….Boil water notices were issued for almost all local entities.

The snow has brought lots of fun, but also lots of challenges. Some City of Devine residents have been without power over 50 hours. Power outages also prevented City wells from refilling the water tower to make matters worse. Photo by Angela Bowyer.

Local Officials: Road conditions deteriorating

There have already been 3 accidents this morning between 4am-7am said the Devine Volunteer Fire Department, who helped work the accidents in our area. Local officials are urging you to “stay home” if you can, noting “we haven’t had conditions like these in years.”

“We are going to probably see ice in places we’ve never seen ice before,” said one local official, working to treat the roads. “There have been patches of ice here and there, especially on the bridges. We are treating them as quickly as we can, but it’s getting colder and colder.”

“The combination of low temps for several days, and then the extreme low temps we are expected to see, is creating conditions we haven’t seen in years.”

“Stay off the road way if you can, and go slowly and carefully when you approach bridges. It comes in waves, and we are treating ice patches but they are always coming back.”

Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown had two words for local residents– “Stay Home.

Frio County Sheriff’s Office has also seen multiple accidents.

“We are advising all Frio County citizens to avoid the highways if possible. We are assisting with several traffic crash scenes along with the Texas Highway Patrol and TXDOT. If you must drive we recommend driving at lower speeds than normal. Please be safe.”

Lytle Pd Richey Priest notes “It is getting worse out there, we are seeing lots of ice forming.”

Local officials warn “it’s been over 10 years since we’ve seen a cold snap like this one”

Electric grid straining, roads deteriorating

Local officials shared this chart which ERCOT shared with them. ERCOT may have to force rolling outages of 30 minutes at a time.

As temps inside and outside see a 40+ degree difference, it can create a heavy load on the electric system. Our local Medina Electric is expecting record loads, comparing the last cold snap like this to the one we saw over 10 years ago. ERCOT could issue rotating outages if needed (see more on this in separate article).  Local officials monitoring road conditions in Medina County also urged people to “Stay Home.”

Medina Electric Coop stated: “We are anticipating record loads on our system. Our engineers and crews spent all week preparing the system. Crews will be monitoring the system and responding to outages.”

“If we all can make some small changes now and turn thermostats down a few degrees (and keep them down through Wednesday) it really could be those small changes that make a huge difference for our state electric grid.”

“The main threats to us locally are ice building on the lines (which can add lots of weight and cause them or poles supporting them to snap), icy roads making it difficult for crews to respond, and overloading on the system from heaters working overtime. That overload can also cause outages, and can make it difficult to pick the load back up when power is restored.”

The D’Hanis substation has already had issues from overloading.
“ERCOT makes the decision on rotating outages. They happened back in 2011 in February during a cold snap – you may remember that. I’ll send you an email I sent to all members that explains how they would work if they occur. I do want to be clear that ERCOT makes those decisions and they are a last resort.”

ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state.
“We do not want to worry people but we want them to know what would happen if it gets to that point – ideally, everyone conserves now and no rotating outages will happen!”
“Part of the reason it causes such an issue is because all of us aren’t used to it! Heaters have to work so hard to keep up when the difference outside and inside are 40+ degrees. Also, many people have one heat source – we don’t have wood stoves and the things they do up north! Another issue is that many homes in our area have heat pumps which are extremely efficient … until it gets in the low 30s. At that point many of them go into emergency modes and require more electricity. That isn’t usually an issue here but with this weather pattern it will be. “

 ERCOT  warns that rolling outages could be necessary ;

conserve electricity through Wednesday, 2/17/2021

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state.  They have warned that rolling outages may be issued, if needed, and this would affect our area.

Medina Electric Cooperative explains that ERCOT controls these outages, and this is what you can expect if it gets to that point.

Rolling outages can be around 30 minutes, and it is important that you turn your heater and other large appliances to OFF position when the outage occurs.

“While you are without power, we ask that you turn your heating unit and any other large appliances or motors to the OFF position. Because those items use large amounts of electricity when power comes back on, turning them off helps prevent the system from being overloaded when power is restored. Overloading on the system can cause additional outages.”

Do Your Part

  • Turn down your thermostat to 68°. If you can go a few degrees cooler, please consider doing so.
  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances, including washers, driers and ovens.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

If these conservation requests do not work, ERCOT could, as a last resort, be forced to implement rotating outages across the state.

Rotating Outages: What You Can Expect If They Are Implemented

If rotating outages are implemented by ERCOT, we will send a notification but the situation can progress quickly and we may not be able to give advanced notice. We ask that you watch our Facebook page for the most current information. You can also download the ERCOT app to track the demand across the state.

During rotating outages, you can generally expect your power to go out for 30 minutes. Following that, it will come back on until you are up again in the rotation.

While you are without power, we ask that you turn your heating unit and any other large appliances or motors to the OFF position. Because those items use large amounts of electricity when power comes back on, turning them off helps prevent the system from being overloaded when power is restored. Overloading on the system can cause additional outages.

If you need to report an outage, we recommend doing so through SmartHub (OnlineSmartHub app for AndroidSmartHub app for iPhone). The phone system is likely to be overwhelmed with calls.

Following the conservation tips above can help prevent rotating outages. Please understand that we are not saying there will be rotating outages at this time, but we want to prepare members for the possibility. We know that any outage is inconvenient and ask that consumers work with each other now to prevent larger inconveniences.

Mark Bowen selected as Lytle’s 2020 Citizen of the Year

The City of Lytle presented Mark Bowen with the 2020 Annual Daniel J. McGrath, D.V.M. Citizenship Award during their regular meeting on February 8, 2021.
“Tonight, we would like to show our gratitude and appreciation for your service Mark to our community”, said Ruben Gonzalez, City of Lytle Mayor. “Throughout the years, you have volunteered (this is a non-paid job with lots of responsibilities), you volunteered to make a difference in Lytle and have touched others in our community by your personal involvement, both as a community leader, public servant and family man”.
“Mark you are valued for being on call for those late night calls of either a major accident or incident from the police department or when getting a late night call from our public works department.
“Mark you are valued for being at all the meetings you attended and documents that you had to sign representing our community and keeping things going for our city.
Mark Bowen served 26 years, 14 of those as a city councilman and 12 years as the Mayor of Lytle.
Things that Gonzalez pointed out that came to mind about Mayor Bowen during his tenure as Mayor of Lytle from May, 2008 to November 2020 are:

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Lytle’s ordinances were re-codified, which had not been done since 1978. The Lytle Animal Control facility was built. The Police Station was built. Gidley Square was built. The Fire Department was able to remold its fire station. The City Hall was remodeled. John Lott Municipal Park was renovated. Water Well #4 was started, and would have been completed if it wasn’t for all the obstacles that the city has encountered. One thing that stands out about Mayor Bowen is that he was very supportive of Lytle’s non-profit groups like the fire department, the VFW, Chamber of Commerce, Lytle Allies and the NHS. Other things that he will be remembered for are how much he loved bringing back the 4th of July Fireworks Show, holding the annual hayride, and allowing the employees to get the street decorated for the Christmas season and this event.
“Mark, you are valued for the safety of our city by committing volunteer hours to our citizen’s patrol and being an extension of PD’s eyes and ears. You are also valued for hanging in there with those interesting conversations with Richey.
“You are valued for always supporting development in our city… putting in a little extra with our Motto “A City on the Grow.”
“Lastly, you are valued for your family and religious priorities both in Lytle and Devine. You set the example by holding a key position in your church and making sure we didn’t forget what it is about,” said Mayor Gonzalez.
As a way to thank him for his time as a public servant, they gave him three gifts, one for his time as a councilman, one for the time as a Mayor, and one for being selected by council as the Citizen of the Year. “Thank you for your committed service and involvement to our community.
“Thank you for the award. I grew up here and the community is my family. It’s been fun and busy. Just a few months into my first year as Mayor, Josie said there is this guy named Gabe Garcia and we have to plan a huge event. And it was huge. It’s been full speed ahead from the beginning.”
By Kathleen Calame