Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has asked the state legislature to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) after winter weather left millions of Texans without power.
The governor of Texas issued a statement calling for grid operator reform to be prioritized as an emergency item during the legislative session to “ensure that Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen in recent days.”
“The Texas Electrical Reliability Council has been anything but trustworthy for the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in its statement. “Too many Texans are without electricity and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.
“Reviewing ERCOT’s preparations and decisions is an emergency item so that we can have a complete picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions,” he added.
ERCOT is facing backlash over its management of the state’s power grid which, as of Tuesday, has left more than 4.1 million people in the Lone Star State without power. after it was hit with record snow and freezing temperatures.
The grid operator ordered the utilities to start rotating the power outages Monday morning in order to manage the high demand for electricity. On Monday night, ERCOT ordered utilities like Oncor to turn off more power in lieu of the expected restorations.
Oncor in a Tuesday press release It said it was unable to rotate through many of the Monday night outages due to “poor network conditions,” which it said resulted in “extended periods of no power for many of our customers.”
“As soon as sufficient generation is available, we will revert to a regular cadence of rotating outages with the goal of providing whatever temporary relief we can for those who have been without power the longest,” the Oncor statement said.
“At this time, ERCOT cannot predict when network conditions will stabilize and urges all customers to be prepared for extended outages to continue,” the statement continued.
In a tweet on Tuesday morning, ERCOT predicted that it could recover power for “some customers” in the afternoon due to increased wind and solar power sources and thermal generation. But the amount of power restored depends on “how much generation can actually connect.”
We should be able to restore some clients this afternoon due to the additional wind and solar energy production, and the additional thermal generation that you have told us they expect to be available. But, how much we restore will depend on how much generation can actually connect.
– ERCOT (@ERCOT_ISO) February 16, 2021
ERCOT makes recommendations to utilities based on the amount of energy available to use safely, and those energy companies make the final decision on how to handle the energy, ERCOT CEO and President Bill Magnus told NBC affiliate KXAN.
The winter storm has turned deadly in Texas, with at least two dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in Houston and two other men found dead. along the highways of the Houston area.