Some lawmakers say legislation proposed after 2011 freeze would’ve helped during winter storm

Power facilities impacted in 2011 North Texas freeze impacted again in 2021

HOUSTON – Frustration is still boiling over the deadly freeze that ravaged Texas last month. A freeze, that according to ERCOT’s records, show’s a large number of facilities in the state going down. Some of them are the same ones that went down during a paralyzing North Texas freeze in 2011.

In an interview with KPRC 2 on Monday, comptroller Glenn Hager says, a decade later, and the state is in a much more challenging place.

“I think we are in a worse shape than where we were 10 years ago,” said Hager.

Ten years ago, as a state senator, Hager authored legislation requiring the winterization of generators to avoid future failures.

The preventative steps were not taken, and the entire state was put on ice last month as a result.

“I think we have to make a very strong statement to the rest of the nation … the rest of the world, that Texas is not going to have an event that we had just a few weeks ago,” said Hager.

“It’s the same lessons learned,” said deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, Michael Webber. “The punishment for the companies who failed twice in 10 years tends to be financial.”

Financial punishment because without power, the companies could not produce and make money. Webber says it all ultimately impacts the financial pockets of everyday Texans.

“Texans will pay for it. Texas insurance payers, rate payers for the electricity and gas as well as the taxpayer,” Webber said.

Transformational change has been buzzing at the Capitol since the first signs of a power failure that ultimately affected millions. State Rep. Gene Wu says the costly repetitive cycle could have been avoided.

“We chose not to force them to do the weatherization that they needed to do, to prevent another outage like this and this is the end result,” Wu said.

“If the same lesson gets learned over and over again, but we can’t figure out what that mean, that’s a sign that we need to pay a little more attention. So, I think there is reason to be frustrated,” Webber said.

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