Governor, ERCOT Chief insist Texas grid is 'ready' for winter storm
HOUSTON - With a wicked, winter storm bearing down on the Lone Star, Governor Greg Abbott assured 30 million Texans that a repeat of last February's deadly grid failure is "not" in the forecast.
"At least 99% or more of the power generators in the state of Texas have passed inspection and are fully operational."
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With 15,000 megawatts of stockpiled power in reserve and new cold weather safeguards reportedly in place to assure adequate delivery of natural gas, ERCOT Chief Executive Brad Jones all but guaranteed that the light and the heat will stay "on in the frigid days to come."
"We are ready for this storm. We will be prepared for this," said Jones.
Having pushed through a slate of legislative reforms in the wake of last February's disaster, Abbott says glaring insufficiencies have been remedied through mandatory countermeasures - like low-temperature weatherization and backup power for essential links in the electricity supply chain.
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"Last Winter, there were only 60 facilities in Texas that were designated as critical infrastructure. Now there are more than 1,500," said Abbott.
Posing a more likely risk than grid failure is the near-certainty of freezing precipitation on many Texas roads and the additional threat faced by those unable or unwilling to find adequate shelter.
"This is going to be a very cold event and the wind chills could be deadly. We want to make sure that anybody has a warm place to go and we cannot overemphasize, driving conditions will be treacherous," said Nim Kidd Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
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"We know the more that the public knows about what's going on, the more trust and confidence they will have in the process," said Abbott.