SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Texans are bracing for near-freezing temperatures this week and following the number of power outages experienced in 2021, power companies said they have been preparing for months. 

“We’re always keeping track of any weather updates and it’s no different this time around,” said Cleiri Quezada, Senior Communications and Public Relations Coordinator at the Brownsville Public Utilities Board.

Quezada said they made changes to the city’s infrastructure following last year’s freeze in an effort to prevent it from happening again.

“We’ve replaced trace heat cables and basically what it is, is cables that make sure to keep the pipes warm that keep the cables warm so it really avoids freezing,” she said.

Other electric companies like AEP said they have people on standby and are working to ensure their equipment is ready.

“We are also identifying equipment that is out of service or needs maintenance that can be placed back into service prior to the storm, so these are things we have been doing in the days leading up to the days where the weather is expected to get really cold,” said Eladio Jaimez, the spokesperson for AEP.

While it is unknown whether the Rio Grande Valley will be experiencing any power outages, officials want residents to be alert and prepared.

“We encourage customers to turn off any large appliances that are not being used. Unplug them because even if they are not being used at the moment, if they are plugged in, they’re still receiving energy,” said Quezada.

Those with medical conditions are also asked to make plans ahead of time as it could turn into a life or death situation.

“Customers that are on life support or other medical equipment that relies on electricity to have a backup plan in the case of an extended outage, we can never guarantee how long an outage is going to last,” said Jaimez.

He adds it’s important to report any down power lines or power outages immediately to AEP or your respective power company so they can resolve them quickly and prevent any accidents.