Texas officials promise 'lights will stay on' this winter

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- We're getting a better idea of how much the state has done to prepare for winter. On Wednesday, the PUC and ERCOT, two agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid, made a bold promise.

"The ERCOT grid is stronger and more reliable than ever."

"Because of all these efforts, the lights will stay on."

Dec. 1 was the deadline for power generators and transmission companies to tell the state what they've done to winterize their operations. The heads of the PUC and ERCOT said they're encouraged by what they've seen so far.

In an Austin board room, one week after the state gave power companies a deadline to tell them what they've done to get ready for winter, the heads of the PUC and ERCOT gave us the state of things. They told us that between now and Dec. 29, they intend to inspect more than 300 generating units and 21 transmission providers. That, they say, makes up 85 percent of the power lost during the storm last February. They have already inspected 55 generator units and two transmission providers. They also gave us some critical insight into what it is their inspectors want to see.

"Have they put wind breaks around the right facilities to make sure that a wind chill doesn't cause a problem with equipment? Have they put thermal blankets on the right types of equipment to make sure those thermal blankets keep those facilities warm? Have they appropriately set heat tracing in place so that pipes don't freeze up during cold weather?" explained ERCOT Interim CEO Brad Jones.

Officials said Wednesday that 100% of transmission operators have complied and 97% of generators. As for that 3%, it comes down to eight power generation companies who failed to file winter weather readiness reports by the deadline. Now the PUC has filed violations against those companies.

The video featured above is from a previous report.

For additional updates on the Texas power grid, follow Tom Abrahams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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