Texas officials prepared for deep freeze

Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 18:51:51-05

WACO, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference to ease concerns that linger from the freeze last year.

According to Abbott, Texas must regain the trust of residents after the 2021 power disaster.

Local emergency management offices are making sure resources are available for those in need.

On Tuesday, Abbott said — ahead of this incoming artic blast — the state’s power grid is ready.

“We want to make sure that everybody across the entire state of Texas hears directly from the head of the public utility commission as well as the head of ERCOT," Abbot said.

Since the disastrous freeze of 2021, Public Utility Commissioner Peter Lake says landmark reforms to weatherize natural gas equipment have been put into place.

“We have more power available than ever before; we’ve got more backup fuel and we’ve mapped the critical interactions between the natural gas system and our power generators,” Lake said.

ERCOT issued a "watch" ahead of the Arctic blast, the highest level of preparation and readiness. They say the highest power usage, or peak demand, is expected Friday morning with nearly 70,000 megawatts.

“With all the available resources preforming as planned we are forecasting to have near 85,000 megawatts of supply available to meet that demand, with wind and solar making up about 12,000 megawatts of that,” said Pablo Vegas, president of ERCOT.

Agencies say they will ask industries to conserve power before asking Texas households. McLennan County officials are preparing as well. Providing warming stations at 1414 Jefferson Ave, in Waco.

“Anybody is welcomed to come to the warming center," said Elizabeth Thomas, emergency management coordinator for the City of Waco. "I know partners like Mission Waco, Brother’s Keeper, the Salvation Army will also be having their warming centers open for this weekend and so there’s a lot of places out there to go ahead and get warm.”

Bell County is also providing resources to residents if conditions get bad, with warming stations in Temple at 419 W Avenue G and in Killeen.

ERCOT says they have completed 200 weatherization inspections to date at power facilities, assuring the grid should hold up.

One industry observer we spoke with this week said we’ll have to wait and see if it does.