ERCOT issues report showing likelihood of outages this winter

Nick Natario Image
Monday, October 9, 2023
Here's what's being done by ERCOT to keep power on this winter
ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas talked to ABC13 about the measures being taken to keep power on after a new report showed the likelihood of outages this winter.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Nearly three years ago, almost 250 people lost their lives when power was lost during a winter storm, and a new report shows the likelihood of more outages this winter.

Snow did more than cripple southeast Texas roadways back in February 2021. It caused power to be lost for days, which burst pipes, and sadly, took 246 lives, according to the state health and human services department.

With winter only a couple of months away, ABC13 recently asked ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas about what it's doing to make sure people don't go for days without power.

"There's a very low likelihood that could happen," Vegas said. "We made some significant changes to ensure that it doesn't."

We learned about the likelihood in a new report. It shows that if a winter storm were to hit during the 8 a.m. hour in December, there's nearly a 20% chance of an emergency and a 14% chance of a need for outages.

To prevent it from happening, the agency says weatherization changes have made a difference. Last year, the state started to require providers to weatherize or face fines.

RELATED: ERCOT looks to increase operating reserves to ensure there's enough power for winter

ERCOT said it's working to store up more non-renewable electricity so it will have extra power in the system in case energy usage spikes this winter.

They're also finding providers that can guarantee power, even during a storm, and have it ready to go in an emergency. Also, officials say they're doing something new.

"We're also looking at our additional capacity reserves that we purchased for this winter, either the supply or the demand side," Vegas explained. "If we think there's a need for that, we're going to purpose to do that."

Those are investments the CEO said should make a difference, but can't guarantee the lights will stay on.

"We're doing everything that we have available to make sure that we deliver reliable energy for Texans regardless of whatever the season is," Vegas said.

It's a goal they have, but one they can't reach yet, no matter the time of year.

For updates on this story, follow Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: ERCOT CEO gives the grid an 'A' for how it handled the record summer heat and demand