5 things for Houstonians to know for Wednesday, Feb. 17

Power lines are shown Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. More than 4 million people in Texas still had no power a full day after historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Power lines are shown Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. More than 4 million people in Texas still had no power a full day after historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Here are things to know for Wednesday, Feb. 17:

1. ‘This is unacceptable’: Abbott declares ERCOT reform an emergency item for legislature, wants investigation of agency

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday declared the reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas an emergency item for the upcoming 2021 legislative session.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

The declaration comes after a massive winter storm caused millions in the state to lose power for large periods of time during subzero temperatures.

Read more.

2. Expert says power outages in Texas result of poor planning on multiple levels

More than 1 million customers in the Houston area are left without power in the coldest stretch of weather in decades. So how did this happen?

Gov. Greg Abbott told KPRC 2 it was a matter of the cold, brutal temperatures.

“The private company providers and generators of that power, their operations totally froze up,” Abbott said.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner made it clear whom he blames. He posted a Tweet that said, “Neither the City of Houston nor Harris County controls or regulates ERCOT or the power generators. The power outages are the responsibility of the state.”

Who’s correct?

“The ERCOT market design is fatally flawed,” said Ed Hirs, the University of Houston energy fellow. “It was never a matter of if it would fail. The only question was when.”

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3. Power outages: Rollbacks of restoration possible as power plants still having trouble coming back

KPRC 2′s Amy Davis talked with CenterPoint Vice President Kenny Mercado about the extended power outages and how the transmission company determines where to turn off the electricity during a crisis.

Here’s a recap of the questions she asked the answers Mercado gave.

Why are so many customers without power?

Generation plants that create electricity were knocked offline because of the weather situation. So, the plants are creating less electricity and people are needing more energy to heat their homes. Keep in mind, Centerpoint does not create or generate electricity, all they do is take the electricity and pass it on to customers.

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4. CenterPoint explains why some customers are without power and others are not

State-mandated blackouts have left about 2 million Texans without power during the coldest weather the state has seen in decades. More than half of those homes left in the dark and cold are in the Houston area.

Officials have said that power generation across the state is slowly increasing, which is allowing power to be restored to some homes.

Here is how to track power outages across Southeast Texas.

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5. Galveston County calls for refrigerated truck to handle influx of bodies from freezing weather

Galveston County officials are calling for a refrigerated truck to hold the expected influx of bodies of people who have died from subfreezing temperatures.

According to the county Medical Examiner’s Office, officials are expecting to receive a couple of dozen bodies of people who have died during the cold snap. Officials said the trucks are necessary since many funeral homes in the area have lost electricity and are unable to house the bodies.

“That number is going to climb as we have the ability to do more welfare checks and check on people who’ve been trapped and without power for the last 48 to 50 hours,” said Galveston County Judge Mark Henry.

Read more.


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