State Watch

Texas energy CEO says he wouldn’t have done anything differently amid power emergency

A snow-covered bench in Texas
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The CEO of the group that controls Texas’s energy grid, says he wouldn’t have done anything differently amid the state’s power emergency.

Bill Magness, the CEO of the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) testified on Thursday during a hearing in front of the Texas State Senate Business and Commerce Committee according to NBC News.

During the hearing, Magness was asked by Texas Sen. John Whitmire (D) if he felt like it was his responsibility to ensure that the state did not have to experience mass power outages during the extreme winter weather that battered the Lone Star State and others in the South last week.

“It’s our job to keep the grid balanced, and if I’m looking at it, the problem was at the sites of the various generation,” Magness said, according to the news outlet.

“I’d just say, I feel a great deal of responsibility and remorse about the event,” Magness continued, “but I believe the operators on our team did everything they could have.”

Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana faced harsh winter weather including prolonged freezing temperatures, snow and ice that is uncommon for the region. The weather lead to massive power outages, pipe damage and ultimately deaths of more than 80 people in the area.

Causes of death included hypothermia, car accidents related to slippery roads and carbon monoxide, among others. 

Millions of people Texas in particular were left without power in the early part of the week. About 1 million people in Louisiana did not have potable drinking water, and thousands more in the state were left without power. 

When Whitmire asked if he would have changed anything during crucial hours of the storm, Magness said he wouldn’t.

“As I sit here now, I don’t believe I would, I wouldn’t step in front of them and question their judgment and their experience,” Magness said, according to NBC.

ERCOT came under fire by Texas Gov. Greg Abott (R) after the millions of Texans were left without power during the winter storm. 

Abott said Thursday that ERCOT failed to impact the way the winter conditions would impact the state’s electrical grid. 

“Step one which was a failure on the part of ERCOT was not taking the winter storm serious enough,” Abbott said at Corpus Christi, according to local news outlet KXAN.

“They downplayed the severity at the same time telling me and the public that they were fully prepared for it.”

Magness said last Monday that the state’s grid was at one point “seconds and minutes” away from going down, which would have caused uncontrolled blackouts. The operator instead decided to go with controlled blackouts that lasted for days.

Tags blackouts Power outages Texas Texas power outages Texas storm Winter storm
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