- A new report found that Texas could be in danger of widespread power outages again in the case of extreme winter weather.
- The state is still grappling with the fallout of deadly February storms that left millions without electricity and water.
- If a storm hits, the Texas power grid is projected to be 37% short of providing the total energy needed for the state.
Residents of the Lone Star State may have another long, difficult winter ahead.
Texas is once again in danger of widespread power outages if extreme weather strikes this season, according to a new report from the non-profit North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a harrowing warning after the state was devastated by severe storms earlier this year.
While NERC also indicated risk for additional regions in the South and the Midwest, the greatest risk remains with Texas, which is projected to fall 37% short of providing the total energy needed in the case of a storm.
The evaluation comes as the state continues to grapple with the fallout of historic February storms that brought freezing temperatures, snow, and ice and left millions of Texans without electricity and clean water for days on end. The unprecedented weather left 210 people dead and led to more than $50 billion in damages, prompting the Biden Administration to declare a national disaster in the state.
In the aftermath, many residents also faced a slew of billing and insurance issues, causing some to be saddled with astronomical electric bills of upwards of $1,000 a day because their plans were tied to wholesale rates.
“Winter Storm Uri highlighted the vulnerabilities of our electricity and natural gas systems during long duration, widespread cold-weather conditions,” Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of reliability assessments, said in a press statement. “The industry has taken major steps to prepare for extreme weather conditions this winter, but our existing generation fleet and fuel infrastructure remain exposed in many areas.”
To further mitigate outages, NERC said power companies should take proactive measures to prepare for extreme winter weather, including implementing emergency operating plans, conducting drills, and polling generators for fuel and availability status.
“To be resilient in extreme weather, we are counting on our grid operators to proactively monitor the generation fleet, adjust operating plans and keep the lines of communication open,” Olson said in the press statement.
According to News 4 San Antonio, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — the company that operates the Texas power grid — plans to inspect 300 power plants during the course of 21 days in December in an effort to prevent power outages.
“To see what could happen under extreme cases in ERCOT, I think is very disappointing and something that we need to see how we can rectify,” John Moura, NERC’s director of reliability assessment, told News 4.