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Texans Express Cautious Optimism as Governor Abbott and Energy Leaders Assure Winter Grid Readiness

In a press conference on Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott and energy leaders declared that the Texas power grid is now winter-ready and better prepared than ever, seeking to reassure the public just two years after a winter freeze caused a grid failure. Despite their assurances, some customers, including homeowners Mary Baker and Gloria Contreras, expressed a mix of hope and hesitation, acknowledging the surprise factor of the previous failure.

“I don’t expect it, but that was a surprise, and I could be surprised again,” remarked homeowner Mary Baker. Gloria Contreras admitted, “I don’t know. I’m a little scared, but I’m hoping everything works out.”

While acknowledging past mistakes, those interviewed by ABC13 expressed a desire to believe that lessons have been learned, and preparations are in place for the upcoming winter, a sentiment echoed by Governor Abbott, energy providers, and ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) leaders.

“In regards to the winter, I want to assure everybody that we are ready,” stated Calpine CEO Thad Hill. ERCOT reported the addition of 3,000 megawatts to the grid in 2023, providing power for approximately 600,000 homes. The council has also introduced new inspectors and completed inspections at 1,500 facilities, with plans for an additional 500 inspections this year.

Governor Abbott emphasized the state’s readiness, stating, “Texans should know, as we approach January and February, it’s going to get colder, and Texas and the grid are better prepared than we’ve ever been.”

ABC13 learned that ERCOT is not only focusing on the current winter but also preparing for future seasons. A new natural gas plant, slated to be operational in 2026 in Freestone County, was announced to address the growing Texas population and increased demand on the grid. The plant is expected to generate power for an additional 85,000 homes.

“This is an important project. This is really good for the state of Texas. It reflects the progress the state is making in encouraging the energy resources of the state. Texas has always been and always will be a leader in energy investments, and this is a representation of that innovation moving forward,” remarked ERCOT’s CEO Pablo Vegas.