State

Gov. Abbott Adds ERCOT Reform to List of Legislature’s Emergency Items Amid Mass Power Outages

After many Texans are going on two days without electricity amidst one of the coldest statewide blizzards on record, Governor Greg Abbott declared reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) an emergency item for the ongoing legislative session.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours. Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather,” said Abbott in a press release.

“This is unacceptable. Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions. I thank my partners in the House and Senate for acting quickly on this challenge, and I will work with them to enhance Texas’ electric grid and ensure that our state never experiences power outages like this again.”

While the legislature is constitutionally prohibited from passing legislation within the first 60 days of a regular session, that prohibition does not apply to an emergency item as declared by the governor.

ERCOT reform is an addition to the five other emergency items that Abbott announced during his State of the State address: expansion of rural broadband access; recourse for cities that “defund their police”; bail reform; election integrity; and financial protection from coronavirus lawsuits.

On Tuesday morning, Dan Woodfin, the senior director of system operations for ERCOT, said that, “The number of controlled outages we have to do remains high. We are optimistic that we will be able to reduce the number throughout the day.”

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