State Watch

O’Rourke driving pickup across Texas to highlight issues with power grid

Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) will be driving over 2,000 miles across the state over 12 days this month to bring attention to its infrastructure.

O’Rourke’s road trip will involve public events across 12 Texas towns and cities, beginning in Odessa on Feb. 4 and ending in Houston on Feb. 15.

“One year after a preventable grid collapse left millions of families without heat, electricity, and running water for days, Texans will be coming together at events across the state to remember what happened, spotlight those who stepped up to serve their communities during the terrifying blackout, and unite around a brighter future for Texas where we finally fix the grid, bring utility costs down, and keep the lights on so this deadly crisis never happens again,” O’Rourke’s campaign said.

Unprecedented winter storms left millions of Texans without electricity or heat for days early last year. Nearly 250 residents are believed to have died due to the winter storm outages. Multiple leadership members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the organization that operates Texas’s electrical grid, resigned or were fired in light of the outages.

Texas’s power grid is not connected to other states, unlike the power grids in most of the U.S. Shortly after the outages, it was reported that ERCOT had not followed previous recommendations to winterize the state’s power grid.

While energy officials have assured Texans that the state’s grid will be able handle colder temperatures this year, ERCOT warned this week that an incoming cold front could push energy demand to record levels.

“Because of the landmark reforms by the Texas Legislature and implemented by the Public Utility Commission, the grid is more resilient and reliable than it has ever been,” the organization said, adding that it was “confident” it would be able to meet demand.

In its announcement, O’Rourke’s campaign blasted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who it says “let the grid fail.”

“Now that Abbott has still refused to fix the grid — protecting the profits of his donors instead of the lives of our families — it’s important that we step up once more to make sure this never happens again,” his campaign said.

Tags Beto O'Rourke Electric power transmission systems Electric Reliability Council of Texas electrical grid Energy in Texas Greg Abbott Texas Texas power crisis

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