Just a day after Governor Greg Abbott blamed private businesses for the massive power outages that left Texans freezing in their homes and said the state was not at fault, he joined Legislative leaders Tuesday in calling for an investigation into Electric Reliability Council of Texas .
Saying Texans should never again suffer power outages as they have over the last few days, Abbott made his call for ERCOT reform an emergency item in the 2021 legislative session. In a press release, the governor was quoted as saying:
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours. 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. 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.”
Abbott's action came after a call earlier Tuesday from Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) for an investigation into the massive power outages caused by the winter storms
Phelan is asking the House State Affairs and Energy Resources committees to delve into how the ERCOT System handled the drain on its power grid due to the historic low temperatures across the state. In a press release he was quoted as saying:
“The extreme winter weather Texans experienced this week caused the lights to go off across the Lone Star State. 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.”
Phelan got a round of amens from House State Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Paddie and House Energy Resources Committee Chairman Craig Goldman, the later of whom said:
“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. I look forward to working with my House colleagues and committee members to get to the bottom of this critical issue for all Texans.”
Texas Senator Borris Miles issued a statement calling the power outage situation "a man-made disaster" and applauding the call for an investigation. "ERCOT's feet will be held to the fire."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.