The CEO of the agency that operates Texas’s power grid gave no timeline on when power would be restored to the more than 3 million Texans experiencing blackouts as icy conditions cripple the region.
ERCOT, the agency in charge of Texas’s power grid, is trying to avoid a total blackout in the region by telling utility companies, such as Oncor Electric Delivery, to turn off some customers’ power.
“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” ERCOT CEO Bill Magness told the Dallas Morning News.
But when asked for a timeline on when power could return, Magness said an uncontrolled blackout could leave customers without power indefinitely or for about a month.
Gov. Greg Abbott called on Texas legislators to investigate ERCOT and how it had handled the storm.
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” he said.
When state legislators pushed ERCOT officials with a specific estimate for when the outages might end, officials simply demurred without giving specific estimates.
— Rafael Anchía (@RafaelAnchia) February 16, 2021
“After being pushed by lawmakers, ERCOT would say only that it could be ‘days’ before power is restored for all customers,” State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas) posted on Twitter. “In an email to members, ERCOT said, ‘Even if there is good progress, returning to normal conditions is going to take additional time.’ ”
State Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston) tweeted that ERCOT told lawmakers it knew last week that controlled outages would be necessary, but it did not make that knowledge public until Sunday.
The only regulation on blackouts is about first responders and critical infrastructure.
(Downtown and hospital districts are critical I would guess)
They apologize for not letting the public know that this was what was going to happen. They knew this was coming last week. (?)
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) February 16, 2021
“They apologize for not letting the public know that this was what was going to happen,” Wu tweeted.