Texas Lawmakers Eager to Question ERCOT Over Deadly Power Outages


The Electric Reliability Council of Texas continues to defend this week's power outages that left millions of Texans in the cold, causing numerous deaths from freezing temperatures or carbon monoxide poisoning as people tried to stay warm.

"The operators acted quickly. The operators acted with judgement based on their training to prevent an event that would have been even more catostrophic than the terrible things we've seen this week," said Bill Magness, president and CEO of ERCOT.

ERCOT officials and others will be called to testify before the Texas House State Affairs and Energy Resources committees next Thursday.

Gov. Greg Abbott sued ERCOT numerous times as state attorney general, and says not much, if anything, has changed.

"It is kind of opaque, the way that it runs. It's not transparent," he said Wednesday. "One thing that everybody needs out of ERCOT is greater transparency, especially residents across the state of Texas."

State Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, wants accountability.

"First we want to hear them admit wrongdoing. Admit that they had a failure to communicate. They're not being clear in their directions and just trying to cover up their failures to act swiftly."

Cain believes it was a decade of policy failures that brought us to this point.

"Several years ago, ERCOT chose to reduce excess capacity from around 20 percent or 25 percent, down to 10 to 11 percent, and that really harmed us now."

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, says several bills calling for reform have been pushed aside in recent years.

"What we've got is a system that subsidizes renewable energy like wind and solar, but the problem is none of that can help yo in the middle of a winter storm."

Bettencourt wants to ensure what happened this week is never repeated.

"We've got to have an energy system that delivers real power to real people, even during a winter storm."


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