ERCOT report details new information on power failures during winter storm

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- ERCOT officials delivered a 9-page preliminary report to the former chair of the Public Utility Commission Tuesday, outlining what it says were the key failures during February's winter storm.

The report details more specifics about how plants went offline and why, but doesn't detail much in the way of what could've been done differently or changes for the future.

ERCOT claims some of the specific information is protected and won't release full accounts of the failures.

At the same time, the 501(c)(4) nonprofit claims it's a governmental agency, which would ordinarily be subject to the Texas Public Information Act, for the purposes of lawsuits seeking damages after the storm.

In an almost comical descriptor given the situation in that February week, the report cites "weather-related" causes as the bulk of the problems that plagued the system, compared to "equipment issues" and "fuel limitations."

The information suggests the cold weather froze power plant equipment, water lines, valves, and other pieces of the generating units that ultimately caused them to shut down.

As has been widely reported, after the last major storm that caused outages in 2011, plants had been told to winterize, but many didn't since it wasn't required. The majority of those problems happened in the overnight hours of Sunday, Feb. 14, then persisted through the rest of the week.

ERCOT's report also indicates that some of the reasons for outages are yet unknown.