Fact check: Fake message from CPS Energy about imminent grid failure

A false statement attributed to San Antonio energy provider CPS Energy has been circulating on social media. The statement says the grid is about to fail because of an electric load warning, meaning everyone, including hospitals, will lose power and that the water supply will also be cut off, with no indication of how long this might last. CPS Energy confirmed on social media that this is not an official CPS Energy message and it did not come from them.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

“From CPS Energy in San Antonio: The State has issued critical electric load warning. Grid is about to fail. Prepare! Water will go out as well so fill tubs etc as needed. At this time CPS Energy is no longer able to protect even critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, from some level of brownouts […] High probability ALL customers will experience outages […] We have no certainty or ability to predict duration or frequency of outages during this critical stage. […] Please reduce your thermostats to a maximum of 62 degrees,” say the posts ( here , here , here ).

CPS Energy released a statement on their official social media sites, visible here and here , saying that this is not an official CPS message: “While we provide several daily updates, please know this DID NOT come from CPS Energy.”

Texas has been hit by a severe winter storm leaving, at the time of publication on Feb. 18, 2021, 2.7 million households without energy, upwards of 12 million people with either no or only intermittent drinking water on tap in their homes, and some hospitals with no water (here). CPS energy is working to stabilize the grid and restore power, according to a Tweet by the company on Feb. 17 (here).

On the CPS Energy website the latest update, from Feb. 15 at 11:00 p.m. says, “Due to the continuation of extremely cold temperatures, demand for power continues to exceed energy supply, prompting increases in San Antonio outage duration and frequencies […] The actions CPS Energy is taking tonight are to avoid a catastrophic event for the ERCOT grid.” (here)

On Twitter, CPS Energy advised people to reduce their thermostats to 68 degrees, not 62 (here). In a Feb. 18 Tweet, CPS Energy says that most customers can expect to be fully restored when the temperature goes above freezing, which they expect to be on Feb. 20 (here).

On Feb. 18, CPS also tweeted that area hospitals were not experiencing blackouts, here . On Feb. 15, they said on their website that they would try to ensure hospitals were not affected by outages : "While increasingly difficult to accommodate, utilities work to preserve power for critical functions (i.e., hospitals, governmental entities, etc.) to limit the impact on those facilities." (here)


False. CPS Energy released a statement on their social media pages saying that this statement is not official and did not come from them.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .