Speed Reads

the aftermath

Texas governor says state's legislative session won't end until power grid problems are fixed

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Wednesday evening said Texans who lost power for several days last week during a severe winter storm "deserve answers" and will "get those answers" soon.

The nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) operates the state's electrical grid, and when almost half the power usually available to the grid went offline amid the storm, millions of homes and businesses found themselves in the dark. "The fact is, power generation from all sources buckled under the harsh, freezing winter weather," Abbott said. "That includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, as well as wind and solar." Last week, Abbott said there were just wind and solar failures, but then walked back his comments.

Abbott is putting the blame for the power outages squarely on ERCOT, saying the agency falsely claimed the grid was prepared for the winter. Abbott wants state lawmakers to reform ERCOT and complete the winterization of the power system during this legislative session, and said it "will not end until we fix these problems." The Texas Tribune reports that energy experts say it will be expensive and difficult to retrofit plants in Texas to handle the cold. Abbott has said the state should fund winterizaton efforts, but it's not clear how much that would cost.