With an unprecedented winter storm exposing weaknesses in the Texas power grid, elected officials are scrambling to assign blame and address the concerns of millions of Texans left without power.
Governor Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday that he is adding power grid reform to his list of emergency legislative items. “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Abbott in a statement.
“Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long term-solutions.”
Abbott’s statement calls for the legislature to investigate ERCOT and “ensure Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen over the last several days.”
Abbott’s announcement came shortly after a press release by Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan stating that the House would be holding a hearing on February 25 to look into why ERCOT had so many issues.
However, some are skeptical of many elected officials’ newfound urgency concerning power grid reform:
“We know you are freezing,” said former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi. “But fear not, your government is discussing things. Maybe some legislative hearings and a commission. If you are good and pay your taxes on time, we (fingers crossed) could get another task force to discuss the situation with even more determination.”
Houston talk show host Michael Berry blasted Abbott in a tweet, “TX Gov Greg Grabbit [sic] has so mishandled this power grid issue that has left millions powerless — literally — and freezing, I’m sure he’s going to make some emergency declarations & deploy the national guard to distract from his failures. Always does.”
Although many questions remain as to what ultimately led to the massive power outages, it is clear that recent weather events have revealed vulnerabilities in ERCOT. Whether elected officials are serious about fixing them or just cynically grandstanding remains to be seen.