NewsLocal News


'Every source of power has been compromised': Abbott calls for review of response to winter storm

Winter Weather Texas Power Failures eletrical grid
Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 01:28:38-05

AUSTIN, Texas — In his first press conference since a winter storm knocked out power for millions of Texans, Governor Greg Abbott called for the state's legislature to conduct a thorough review of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas's (ERCOT) handling of the power grid.

"We are making sure that we're getting to the root of any missteps that took place, what was done and what could be done better," Abbott said.

Around 2.7 million households across the Lone Star State were still without power Wednesday morning after rolling blackouts were extended indefinitely. Several households have been without power since Monday.

Abbott said state emergency management leaders were unsure when power would be fully restored.

“This is a once-in-every-120-year cold front that we have to respond to,” he said.

ERCOT's president and CEO Bill Magness also met with the media Thursday, but they also had no clear timetable for a return to full electric capacity.

"That's the question everyone's asking," Magness said. "When is this going to end? When is the power going to be back to all the people in Texas who have been without power since these outages began?"

Magness went on to defend the actions of ERCOT grid operators, saying while the current situation may resemble a blackout, the situation could be far worse.

"If we had waited and not done outages and reduced demand to reflect what was going on on the overall system, we could have drifted toward a blackout," Magness said. "It's not just outages. You lose all electricity on a system, and it could take months or longer to rebuild that. Texas would be in an indeterminately long situation without power."

Abbott admitted several of the issues with the grid stem from a lack of power generation across both renewable and nonrenewable resources.

"The fact is every source of power the state of Texas has access to has been compromised because of the ultra cold temperatures or because of equipment failures," Abbott said.

According to Abbott, ERCOT had recovered around 6,000 MW of energy Wednesday morning alone. The state estimated an additional 2,000 MW of coal-generated energy and 3,000 MW of nuclear-generated energy would be added by the end of the day.

In addition, the governor announced he had ordered natural gas producers in Texas to stop selling fuel outside of the state and to sell it to the state's power generators instead.

"That will increase the ability of gas-powered generators to increase the amount of power sent to the Texas power grid," Abbott said.

In addition, the governor said the state plans to allow agencies to issue provisional licenses to out-of-state plumbers and insurance adjusters in order to allow more people to help Texans clean up after the storm.