Texas legislature holds hearings over statewide blackouts

ERCOT response during devastating winter storm

AUSTIN – The state legislature has begun hearings in Austin on the statewide blackouts.

Wednesday, six of ERCOT’s board members resigned in the power failure fallout, but many are saying much more needs to be done. Thursday’s hearing addressed some of the major issues Texans faced. Contributing factors and response to the blackouts were among the key points being discussed.

Meanwhile, ERCOT’s CEO had his own message. During a news conference Wednesday, Bill Magness said he wants to “provide an explanation, not excuses.”

During Wednesday’s three-hour emergency board meeting, Magness provided new details on last week’s devastating winter storm that left millions of Texans in the dark during freezing temperatures.

He said nearly half of the state’s power supply went down at the height of the storm due to the extreme weather impacts.

“...that night, more electricity had been used on a winter’s day than ever in history,” Magness said.

ERCOT leaders said they were very close to “catastrophe,” saying the power grid was just four minutes and 37 seconds away from long-term outages for millions of Texans that could have taken weeks, if not months, to fix.

Gov. Greg Abbott also held a news conference Wednesday, where he took an aggressive stance and promised to get to the bottom of the power grid failure.

“For those of you still hurting, I want you to know, The state is using every possible resource to fix this problem,” Abbott said. “Many of you are angry, and you have a right to be. I’m angry too. At a time when essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers. You will get those answers.”

Abbott also said he’s making it a legislative priority to mandate and fund the “winterization” of the state’s power infrastructure to prevent this from ever happening again.


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Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.