Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised action to prevent a future power grid failure like the one last week that left millions of people without electricity for days as an arctic blast gripped the state.
“Tragic does not even begin to describe the devastation and the suffering that you have endured over the past week,” Abbott said as he spoke to Texans from the State Emergency Operations Center during a statewide address Wednesday.
Abbott repeated his statement that puts the onus of the crisis at the feet of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, where six board officials resigned this week. He said ERCOT assured state officials that the grid was ready for the record-setting cold and ice that swept the Lone Star State. He said the agency charged with managing the state’s electric grid should’ve acted faster to get it stabilized.
“Many of you are angry, and you have a right to be,” Abbott said. “I’m angry too.”
Abbott said the system that was needed the most during the storm “broke” and he laid out a set of priorities aimed at stopping future problems.
First, the governor said lawmakers are working on ways to help Texans slapped with sky-high energy bills after last week’s storm. He said companies are prevented from disconnecting people from their water or power services until the Legislature has had time to act.
Abbott said his second priority is to overhaul ERCOT. He said he’s pleased with the resignations of several board members but “more must be done.” He said he wants to add more power to the grid and ensure that Texas never runs out of power again.
Finally, Abbott again called on lawmakers to mandate winterization of Texas’ power infrastructure and to set aside the money need to do it.
The governor said the legislative session will not end until the problem is addressed.