Want to know what led to winter storm failures? Sign this petition

Tom Abrahams Image
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Want to know what led to winter storm failures? Sign this petition
ERCOT's failures during the February winter storm are part of a call for an independent body to investigate the Texas power grid operator.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Deanna Gideon wants answers.

When a historic ice storm hit southeast Texas in mid-February, the power went out in her home, a pipe burst and she was forced to live in a hotel for more than two months.

"If we have another ice storm, a whole bunch of people will die again," she told ABC13. She described her emotions as "Frustrated, angry and hurt."

So why did the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) fail? Nobody has the answer.

READ ALSO: Texplainer: Why does Texas have its own power grid?

"They owe us some answers, you know," said Gideon. "They brushed us aside, and it could very well happen again."

A former employee in the energy distribution business, who worked in the field for more than 20 years, said she's convinced it will happen again if the grid isn't fixed and we won't find out why it failed.

Bill King, a former Houtson mayoral candidate and Texas chair of a new moderate political party called the Serve America Movement, also known as SAM, is circulating a petition which demands an independent commission to investigate the state's grid failure during the winter storm.

READ ALSO: SAM, known as the Serve America Movement, hopes to become next political party

"I've heard a lot of different theories. I've heard a lot of different explanations. None of it fully explained it," King said. "Our governor was out immediately saying it was the Green New Deal's fault. All the Democrats were immediately saying, 'This is because we're so reliant on fossil fuels.' Anybody with an IQ over 100 could see that neither one of those narratives was right. It was far more complicated and nuanced than that."

King's petition asks Texans to back the commission, which would:

  • Investigate the causes of the February electrical grid failure
  • Determine steps that should be taken to ensure such a failure does not occur again
  • Make an accurate assessment of the damage caused and the number of lives lost
  • Perform a complete accounting on the approximately $50 billion that was charged during the crisis

King isn't the first to call for an investigation.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also called for one in February, but other than legislative hearings in Austin, there are no real answers. Plus, the grid is still vulnerable and susceptible to heat as much as extreme cold.

READ ALSO: ERCOT continues request for Texans to conserve power

"Whenever there are unanswered questions, the answer is simply to answer the questions," said State Senator Paul Bettencourt, a Houston Republican. "That's really what's been part of the problem with all of this."

Bettencourt believes regardless of what caused the outage, Texas needs more electric generating capacity, which he said needs to be in the form of additional nuclear, coal, or natural gas powered plants.

However, residents like Gideon, who saw much of her neighborhood in shambles after the storm, don't have patience for the politics. She is unsatisfied with the changes in the just-ended legislative session.

"They put a couple of Band-Aids on open heart surgery," she said.

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