TEXAS – The mayors of 16 Texas cities have signed and delivered a letter to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) demanding answers in the wake of massive power outages last week when the state suffered through frigid temperatures.
ERCOT is the company that operates Texas’s electrical grid.
The letter, addressed to ERCOT CEO Bill Magness, is signed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, among others.
I've initiated a request with 15 of my Texas mayoral colleagues — urging state leaders to shine a light on the ERCOT protocols and procedures that left so many of us in the dark.— Mayor Ron | Wear a mask! 😷 (@Ron_Nirenberg) February 23, 2021
Texans are counting on their elected leadership to provide solutions. pic.twitter.com/d99ENA52p1
“Our cities have worked around the clock to address our residents’ needs during this emergency. Our infrastructure has been challenged, damaged and unresponsive at the time of our highest need,” the letter reads.
“As a result, it has become painfully clear that the communities were made vulnerable by numerous decisions by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ leadership,” the letter continues. “ERCOT’S grid management protocols and policies during the cold weather did not seem to take into consideration exposure to sustained freezing temperatures.”
The letter comes as the Texas Legislature is slated to take up an investigation into ERCOT policies beginning on Thursday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week declared that investigation an emergency item during the ongoing legislative session.
- ERCOT CEO: "A Catastrophic Blackout" Was Avoided by Shedding Power Load
- Officials: Texas Was "Seconds or Minutes" from Catastrophic Grid Failure
- State Agency's Failure May Cause Electricity Rates to Rise
- Amid Ongoing Outages, Gov. Abbott Declares ERCOT Reform an Emergency Item
- Gov. Abbott Calls for Mandatory Winterization of Power Plants, Proof Blackout Was Imminent
“Additionally, how ERCOT chose to manage the grid during the extended cold weather led to unpredictable and inconsistent blackouts across our cities, contradicting the experience that our communities were prepared to endure," the letter continued.
The letter additionally states that the mayors believe ERCOT’s partnership with utilities appears to prioritize revenue generation over safety priorities.
Magness last week said the outages were necessary to prevent total grid failure and a resultant blackout across the state of Texas that could have taken months to restore.
“We are confident that you agree ERCOT’s deficiencies must be addressed, and we urge you to act as soon as possible. Texans are counting on their elected leadership to provide solutions,” the letter concludes.