Texas Legislature Opens Hearings on Power Blackouts During Deadly Freeze

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, CenterPoint, Oncor and others are on the hot seat in Austin Thursday as state lawmakers open hearings on last week's power outages amid a deadly freeze.

Eighty deaths so far have been attributed to the ice storm, according to the Associated Press. They include 15 hypothermia and several carbon monoxide deaths in Harris County.

“It affects everybody on the system. And it affects more importantly the people who we serve. And those were not well served,” ERCOT's Bill Magness said Wednesday.

State Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, sits on the House State Affairs Committee. He says providers also are to blame.

“ERCOT said reduce your power load. They didn't say reduce your power load in River Oaks. Reduce your power load in the Third Ward,” he says. “(Providers) made the decision what neighborhoods would be blacked out for so long, and what neighborhoods would not be blacked out at all.”

Deshotel adds the Legislature also must be held accountable for not ensuring the grid was winterized after repeated warnings.

“Yes it froze. Nothing works when it is frozen. But there are issues as far as why Galveston County went without power for almost five days and other areas on the same system never lost power.”

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