Texas Governor, House Speaker Call for Emergency Probe of Failing Power Grid

FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 16: Transmission towers and power lines lead to a substation after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix …
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Texas leaders are scrambling to find out why the state’s power grid was ill-prepared to deal with electrical generation during this week’s historic winter storm. The grid’s energy production failures left millions without electricity, heat, and in some cases, water.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared reform of the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to be an “emergency item” for the new session of the State Legislature. The “emergency item” declaration allows the Legislature to consider legislation to address failures of ERCOT to prepare for this winter storm.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Governor Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday morning. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

“Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions,” the governor added. “I thank my partners in the House and Senate for acting quickly on this challenge, and I will work with them to enhance Texas’ electric grid and ensure that our state never experiences power outages like this again.”

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) issued a statement on Tuesday calling for hearings into the power grid’s failure to prepare for the winter storm. The speaker directed the House State Affairs and Energy Resources Committees to hold a joint session to “review the factors that led to megawatts of electric generation being dropped off the ERCOT system and the subsequent statewide blackouts that affected millions of Texans across the state.”

“The extreme winter weather Texans experienced this week caused the lights to go off across the Lone Star State,” Speaker Phelan said in a written statement. “I’m asking these two vital committees to convene a joint hearing on February 25th for the express purpose of helping Texans understand what went wrong and how we can prevent these conditions from happening again.”

“We must cut through the finger-pointing and hear directly from stakeholders about the factors that contributed to generation staying down at a time when families needed it most, what our state can do to correct these issues, and what steps regulators and grid operators are taking to safeguard our electric grid,” the speaker concluded.

State Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Paddie added, “The statewide blackouts raise questions about the reliability of our electric grid and its ability to withstand extreme weather events in the future.”

While Energy Resources Committee Chairman Craig Goldman said, “More than 2 million Texans have been left without power – some for many hours, some even days – and this is unacceptable.”

“This joint hearing will provide an opportunity for all Texans to hear from industry officials, regulators, and grid operators to get an explanation and understanding of what went wrong and steps they are all taking to make certain this never happens again,” Goldman stated.

Responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, House Homeland Security and Public Safety Chairman James White (R-Woodville) said, “This is an epic failure in planning and preparedness — frozen natural gas wellheads and exposed generation units. We will do better.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s Sunday-morning talk show, What’s Your Point? Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Parler @BobPrice, and Facebook.

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