Gov. Greg Abbott calls on ERCOT leadership to resign during ABC13 one-on-one interview

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021
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The governor appeared visibly frustrated when asked about the response to the state's power outage crisis by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Watch the full interview in the video above.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Anger over Texas' power grid failing in the face of a record winter freeze mounted on Tuesday as millions of residents remained shivering, and in an ABC13 one-on-one interview with Gov. Greg Abbott, he's pointing the finger directly at ERCOT.

"This was a total failure by ERCOT," he said. "ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas ... and they showed that they were not reliable. These are specialists, and government has to rely upon these specialists to be able to deliver in these types of situations."

With more than five million Texans forced to spend the night in freezing temperatures without heaters, Abbott said he's now steering the Texas Legislature to make an investigation of the state's nonprofit energy council an emergency item. Over the past two days, ERCOT has been the target of criticism statewide.

"This is something that I declared in advance ... this is something that our team had been talking to them about in advance, knowing, in advance, the ultra-cold we were going to be dealing with," said Abbott.

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

The visibly frustrated governor even called for the resignation of the ERCOT board members.

"Do you think ERCOT leaders should resign?" asked ABC13 anchor Gina Gaston during the live interview.

"Yes," responded Abbott.

"There seemed to be a lack of preparation, and making sure we did have access to back-up power in the event that the power generators were incapable of generating power, but all that aside .... they should be providing greater transparency," continued Abbott. "They are a public entity. They deserve to tell you, as well as government leaders, exactly what is going and what is not going on and they are not stepping up and providing that level of transparency."

WATCH THE FULL ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW IN THE VIDEO ABOVE

Harris County emergency officials reported "several carbon monoxide deaths" in or around Houston and reminded people not to operate cars or gasoline powered generators indoors. Authorities said three young children and their grandmother, who were believed to be trying to keep warm, also died in a Sugar Land house fire early Tuesday.

In Galveston, the medical examiner's office requested a refrigerated truck to expand body storage, although County Judge Mark Henry said he didn't know how many deaths there had been related to the weather.

By late Tuesday afternoon, ERCOT officials said some power had been restored, but they warned that even those gains were fragile and more outages were possible.

READ MORE: CenterPoint warns additional power outages could happen soon

SEE MORE: Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo calls lit up downtown skyscrapers amid outages 'maddening'

The Associated Press contributed to this report.