HOUSTON - As electricity providers slowly get millions of Texans reconnected to the power grid, after our winter blast, there is growing talk about how to hold someone accountable for the disaster. That may be easier said than done.
Mauricio Marin is one of them. As he recovered from COVID-19, the Houston man was one of the millions who lost power during the arctic blast. Unfortunately, the outage cut the power to life-saving equipment and forced Marin back into a hospital. Now, he's suing ERCOT and Centerpoint Energy for $10 million.
"Maurcio Marin almost died a second time because of the horrific event that occurred to us, in regard to the absolute incompetence of the people who were administering our power," argued Houston attorney Frank Spagnoletti on The Isiah Factor Uncensored.
FOX 26 senior legal analyst Chris Tritico says that argument may not be enough.
"Sovereign immunity says you can't sue great the state of Texas unless the great state of Texas says you can," he says.
Tritico suggests, since ERCOT, Centerpoint and the state's power generators enjoy sovereign immunity protection from most circumstances, it will be incredibly difficult to successfully sue them for their service failures.
Indeed, state rules that allow them to operate stipulate that power companies do not guarantee a steady flow of electricity. Instead, an argument that the grid was left vulnerable by willful, reckless decisions, may get traction.
"They knew from 2011, that we had the chance that a big freeze would shut down our power grid," says Tritico, "They still chose, up until a few weeks before this started, to make it simply voluntary to winterize our power generating systems, in exchange for profit motives, and I think that fits the definition of gross negligence." Still, he says proving that is incredibly difficult in Texas courts.
Instead, as the state legislature is in session and full of lawmakers who were similarly affected by the weather, there may pressure to force improvements, there, so this doesn't happen again.