5 things for Houstonians to know for Wednesday, Feb. 24

Call for Harris County to leave state's power grid

Here are things to know for Wednesday, Feb. 24:

1. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden to visit Houston

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Houston on Friday, the White House officials said Tuesday.

The visit comes a week after the deadly winter storm that crippled the Texas power grid and left many without water.

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2. 5 ERCOT board members to resign Wednesday

Five board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas are resigning Wednesday.

According to a Tuesday filing with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the board’s Chairman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger, Human Resources and Governance Committee Chairman Raymond Hepper and Director for the Independent Retail Electric Provider Market Segment Vanessa Anesetti-Parra will all resign at the end of their board meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Craig Ivey, who had applied to fill a vacancy on the board, has withdrawn his application, according to the filing.

ERCOT is the agency charged with managing most of the power grid in Texas. It’s also the agency that mandated blackouts that left millions of Texans in the dark and cold for days during last week’s winter storm.

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3. Call for Harris County to leave state’s power grid. Is that possible?

Commissioner Adrian Garcia said Harris County should explore what authority it has to leave the Energy Reliability Council of Texas and will propose Friday in commissioner’s court.

Garcia said he will request “an opinion from the County Attorney on what powers Court or other county elected official to possess under the Texas Constitution and Texas statutes to remove the county from ERCOT’s service area,” among other things.

The ERCOT map, which includes most of Texas, except El Paso, parts of the Panhandle and more than a dozen counties on the eastern edge of the state, has looked about the same for many decades.

In the Houston area, Harris, Fort Bend, Galveston, Brazoria and Montgomery counties, are inside the ERCOT map, while Jefferson and Liberty counties belong to another grid overseen by the Federal Energy Reliability Council.

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4. Houston-area hospitalizations drop below threshold allowing expanded reopenings

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the Houston area have dropped below a state-mandated threshold, which dictates how restaurants and bars can operate amid the pandemic.

According to a spokesman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, hospitalizations in Trauma Service Area Q, which includes Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties, have been below 15% for seven consecutive days. According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the same is the case for TSA R, which includes Brazoria and Galveston counties.

This means, among other things, that restaurants can increase to 75% capacity and bars can reopen at 50% capacity. Bar reopenings are at the discretion of the county judge, according to Abbott’s spokesman.

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5. ‘My heart is broken’: Mother grieves after illegal street race that killed her 2 teen sons, another pedestrian

One mother is grieving after an illegal street race killed her two sons and another pedestrian.

At St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Brookshire, the family of Sherkeitha Kennedy gathered in support.

“It’s so senseless. It’s so senseless,” said Sherkeitha Kennedy, the boys’ mother.

Kennedy lost her two sons, 16-year-old DeCarerick Kennedy and 14-year-old Faybian Hoisington.

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