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'No one can guarantee there won't be a 'load-shed' event' assessing the state's power grid

Posted at 10:08 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 23:08:26-05

As the temperatures continue to drop many Texans are making last-minute preparations for the pending winter storm. State officials say they have been winterizing the grid since last year's storm, but will those updates prevent another catastrophic blackout.

Brad Jones, the Interim President and CEO of ERCOT said, "We’ve been working for the last year to make sure this grade is more reliable than it has been in the past. We are ready for this storm. We are prepared for this."

2021's deadly winter storm has some Texans on edge many questioning is the grid ready?

Jones said, "We have about 71,000 MW of expected load which will be a record for ERCOT but at the same time We have 86,000 MW of available generation."

Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference this week that the state's power grid now exceeds federal weatherization standards.

Abbott said, "No one can guarantee that there won’t be a 'load shed' event."

Ed Hirs, an energy fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Houston said, "They've made great progress, weatherizing, and winterizing the grid, but it takes more than 12 months to fix something that's been in decay for 10 years."

Hirs explains because this year's winter storm isn't expected to last as long as last year, it may not give an accurate of the state's power grid updates.

"I don't think that this storm is going to stress the grid as much as the one last February. We still have several weeks more of winter to go. So, we don't know what's going to be coming behind it," said Hirs.

Meteorologists report what we’ll see in the next 48 to 72 hours won’t be a repeat of 2021 but some folks would rather be safe than sorry.

Charles Partain, a Killeen resident said, "I lost power for over a week last year I’d rather have it than not need it than need it and not be able to find it."

Partain is one of several Bell County residents who headed to Big Hill's Firewood in Killeen.

Anthony Hill the Owner of Big Hill's Firewood said "There is only so much seasoned firewood to go around that I can sell to people."

Hill encourages his customers to shop for firewood in the summer when most people are not looking for it. He provides wood to local businesses and private citizens. With the winter storm approaching Hill is now completely sold out.

"I get super busy this time of year just like this time last year with the winter storm. There is usually not enough wood to go around with the number of houses. When you have everyone looking for the same product it creates a shortage," said Hill.

As folks in Killeen and across the state prepare for the pending weather storm, Gov. Abbott is remaining optimistic.

"What we are prepared to achieve is that the power stays on across the entire state," Abbott said.

State officials expect the highest energy demand on Friday morning.