Nov 10, 2021 - News
Poll: Texas voters critical of electric grid politics
Residents help a pickup driver get out of ice on the road in Round Rock, Texas, on February 17, 2021, after a winter storm
Residents help a pickup driver get out of ice on the road in Round Rock in February, after the winter storm hit. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

Texas voters disapprove of how lawmakers have handled the state's electric grid, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

Driving the news: The poll showed 60% of respondents disapproved of how leaders managed the grid's reliability after February's outages. Only 18% approved.

Why it matters: It may feel like fall outside, but winter is coming, and with it uncertainty that the power grid will be able to sustain consumers' energy needs.

Flashback: At least 200 Texans died during February's deep freeze when millions lost power.

Context: Texas has its own power grid run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

This winter is expected to be warmer than average because of La Niña, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  • Yes, but: The La Niña conditions were also present during last year's freeze.

The Texas Tribune wrote an explainer in 2011 on why the state has its own power grid. (Hint: It's to avoid dealing with the federal government.)

Our thought bubble: Heading into next year's election, expect challengers to lash incumbents for the storm as they make arguments about government incompetence. But once they're more than a year out from the storm, will voters still care about government performance on electricity as much as hot button issues like abortion — or pocketbook ones like inflation and jobs?

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