- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Tuesday for an investigation into the operator of the state’s electricity grid after devastating outages that left millions of residents during this week’s historic deep freeze, calling the utility’s performance “anything but reliable.”

The Republican governor announced that reforming the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT], which manages the state’s independent power grid, would be an emergency item this year for the state legislature.

“In declaring this item an emergency, the Governor is calling on the legislature to investigate ERCOT and ensure Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen over the past several days,” said the governor’s press release.

More than four million Texans were without power Tuesday as ERCOT operators sought to reinstate electricity service without overwhelming the system after an Arctic blast sent the state into a deep freeze that resulted in frozen wind turbines and interruptions in natural gas delivery.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Mr. Abbott. “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.”

He called for a review of the “preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions.”

He said he would work with state legislators “to enhance Texas’ electric grid and ensure that our state never experiences power outages like this again.”

Earlier Tuesday, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced a Feb. 25 joint legislative hearing to address the statewide blackouts.

The governor deployed the National Guard on Monday to conduct welfare checks and bring at-risk residents to the 135 warming centers set up by state and local governments.

The White House issued Sunday a federal emergency declaration for all 254 Texas counties over the severe winter weather that brought snow, wind chill warnings and below-freezing temperatures to some regions.

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