Calling it “anything but reliable,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an investigation into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) amid statewide blackouts in freezing temperatures on Feb 16.
“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,” Abbott wrote in a statement.
“I have issued an executive order to review the preparations and decisions by ERCOT so we can determine what caused this problem and find long-term solutions.”
ERCOT faces fire to manage its state power grid after 4.1 million people were left without power in the midst of record snow and subzero temperatures. Some of them had been out of power for more than 24 hours after the power stations went offline on Monday. The outages also shut down water treatment plants, and hundreds of thousands of people were instructed to boil water before using it.
On Monday night, ERCOT instructed utilities such as Oncor to shut off more power instead of the expected restorations.
Oncor released a statement saying it couldn’t rotate through the outages Monday night because of “poor grid conditions,” and warned residents to prepare for “extended periods without power.”
“At this time, ERCOT is unable to predict when grid conditions will stabilize, and urges all customers to be prepared for extended outages to continue,” the release continued.
“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep without folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said.
At least 10 deaths have been reported in light of the storm and resulting blackouts. More freezing weather is expected to hit the state Wednesday and some areas will see more snow.