Feb 4, 2022 - News

Abbott: Texas grid will meet storm demands

Illustration of a Texas-shaped power outlet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

State officials sought to quell concerns Thursday over the electric grid's ability to power homes through what Gov. Greg Abbott described as a "significant icing event."

Details: As many as 70,000 customers were without power Thursday, which emergency officials attribute to outages from fallen trees and downed power lines.

The big picture: Abbott said the power grid "is performing very well at this time" in a Thursday morning press conference.

  • The state has several days' worth of natural gas in storage to meet energy demands, he added.
  • And the governor touted the grid's power supply, saying it had 10,000 megawatts of power above the projected peak demand. As of 6:10am Friday, the grid had at least 6,600 megawatts in reserve, per ERCOT's dashboard.

Why it matters: The cold has prompted concerns about the stability of the electrical grid, which failed in deadly and costly fashion during a more significant Arctic outbreak last year.

Abbott called the latest freeze the most significant in decades, but National Weather Service meteorologists say it's a typical winter weather event for the area.

  • "It is what we typically see here in South-Central Texas," NWS meteorologist Andrew Quigley told Axios, adding that last year's deadly winter storm "was a once-in-30-40-years type of event."

Yes, but: This week's freeze will test whether limited changes made by state lawmakers and officials have improved the grid's stability.

Zoom in: Austin Energy reported more than 3,000 customers without power Thursday afternoon, with most located in upper West Campus, where many University of Texas students live.

  • Check outages in your area here.
  • Sign up to receive emergency communications from the city here.
  • Check the grid conditions here.

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