Feb 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Abbott: Texas power agency "opaque" about restoration

Photo of Greg Abbott in a suit speaking and gesturing with one hand
Photo: Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has not provided information on which geographic locations will regain power, calling the agency "opaque."

Why it matters: A freezing winter storm has led to power outages for more than two million households in Texas.

What he's saying: "It’s kind of opaque, the way it’s run," Abbott said of ERCOT at a press conference.

  • He emphasized the need for transparency to ensure "the state will be able to withstand cold spells like what happened this time."
  • The Texas legislature will begin investigating ERCOT next week, according to Abbott.

The other side: Critics have slammed Abbott for pointing fingers at ERCOT, arguing that the agency operates under his leadership.

  • ERCOT is under the jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC).
  • The governor appoints three PUC commissioners, including the chair.
  • "We know millions of people are suffering," ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a press release Wednesday. "We have no other priority than getting them electricity. No other priority."

The big picture: 6,000 megawatts of power have been added to the Texas grid, restoring power for about 1.2 million households.

  • Once functional, other gas, nuclear and coal generators will boost power for additional homes in the next few days.
  • The governor has banned natural gas companies from selling fuel outside the state.
  • At least 10 people have died in incidents related to severe winter weather.

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