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Experts calling out Gov. Abbott warning if historic freeze happens again, power grid will fail

Posted at 8:35 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 23:19:28-05

WACO, TX — As colder temperatures are expected over the coming months, experts told 25 News that Texas could be in trouble again.

The first week of December will be sunny with temperatures in the 70s, but the colder months are on the way.

Critics said state officials have done little to prevent another winter blackout since February's arctic blast, raising the question that if the same event happens is the state prepared?

In February, bitter cold temperatures swept across the state leaving millions of Texans in the dark and the power grid without a backup plan. Crysta Castaneda, an attorney with a firm specializing in energy said, the main reason was due to weatherization.

"The natural gas production and delivery system had failures that kept the natural gas from getting to the power plant," Castaneda said. "Then once the power plant began to fail the natural gas delivery system relies on electricity to be able to produce it and wasn't enough electricity."

This created what she called an endless cycle of failure.

"I would anticipate between one to two Arctic outbreaks to hit sometime in January or February," said Chief Meteorologist Matt Hines.

If it does happen again, Castaneda said it won't be good.

"If we have the same time of weather event, we are almost guaranteed to have another failure," Castaneda said.

In response to the freeze, federal investigators and even ERCOT's own inspectors laid out new weatherization needs to withstand freezing temperatures.

"It can include things like adding chemicals to the gas stream to make sure the freezing point is lower, just like you would add antifreeze to your car," Castaneda said.

Gov. Abbott and other Texas Lawmakers passed legislation to make that happen. Abbott said everything that needed to be done was done to fix the grid, even guaranteeing the lights will stay on.

"We don't know what private companies are doing to protect their own supplies, but what we do know is that the Texas railroad commission that has oversight on winterization of our natural gas supplies has not done anything to require additional winterization," Castaneda said. "Abbott may prove to be right if we don't have another harsh winter event, but if we do have one I don't think everything that needed to be done has been done."