Will power outages occur in next winter blast?

Some said the recent winter storm was one of the worst the Rio Grande Valley has seen in about 20 years.

It also affected 52,000 AEP customers.

Some of them were without power for several days.

"We had to focus all our efforts in restoring all the broken poles and downed power lines that were knocked down by the ice, AEP Spokesperson Frank Espinoza said. We could not restore until the power lines were up.

Espinoza said about 11 power lines were knocked down, mostly affecting customers in the South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Los Fresnos and Brownsville areas.

Some of those customers, such as residents at Siesta Mobile Home Community in Brownsville didn't get their power back until Sunday.

"I was sick since Tuesday so I couldn't handle being here, resident Mauricio Cordero. It was so cold - it was colder inside than outside, so I just left to my dad's house."

Espinoza said that by Sunday, power to all except 1,000 AEP customers had been restored but 800 of those were in the Lower Valley.

"We recognize that it was greatly discomforting for many people who were affected, but the reality is that this was a significant storm," Espinoza said.

Espinoza does not foresee the dip in temperatures this week to have nearly the same effect as the last winter storm but as AEP crews prepare, so should customers.

"Have a plan in place have your flashlights, Espinoza said, be prepared to be without power because living here in South Texas we're just not used to it it's just an unusual fact of nature."

Espinoza said if your electric company doesn't know that customers are without power, they can't restore it, so it's always best to report the outage and not rely on neighbors.

If you have an outage to report you can contact AEP at 1-866-223-8508.