Abbott says power outages might happen during impending Texas freeze
Austin, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott is walking back his promise that Texans wouldn't be without power as the state prepares for another winter storm.
Texans are understandably concerned about the impending winter weather following the deadly winter storm of February 2021 that took 246 lives and left millions of Texans without power and water for days.
On Tuesday, Abbott held a press conference to address the winter storm that's expected to hit on Thursday, and the state's preparedness for it.
Despite having told Fox 7 two months ago, "I can guarantee the lights will stay on," Abbott seems to be changing tune as the storm approaches.
At Tuesday's press conference, Abbott said, "No one can guarantee there won’t be [power outages]," adding that the one thing he can do amid the storm is, "To make sure that we are remaining in close communication with everybody across the state."
Rather than admitting Texas' power grid might not be as stable as he'd like residents to believe, Abbott claimed outages might derive from frozen power lines and falling trees.
The governor also mentioned at the time of the conference, there were roughly 5,000 Texans without power – all before the winter storm even hits the state.
Despite this, Texas' governor swore that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) was prepared for the icy weather and below-freezing temperatures in the days ahead.
Natural gas facilities remain unweatherized
During the "snowpocalypse" of February 2021, Texas' power grid failed epically. Since then, state leaders such as Abbott have claimed an increase in emergency preparedness has taken place.
Yet, natural gas companies, which are responsible for the majority of electricity generation in Texas, were not required to prepare or weatherize their equipment for colder weather this year.
Although the Texas Tribune reported the state's legislature passed Senate Bill 2 and 3 in May 2021 – which require the weatherization of power plants and natural gas facilities – lawmakers ultimately agreed to limit the requirements placed on the latter.
When asked about the natural gas supply on Tuesday, Abbott said, "There might be some reduction in the generation of natural gas. We can still maintain power grid integrity even if there is a loss of some level of production of natural gas."
With the main source of power – natural gas suppliers – in the state remaining highly unregulated and unweatherized, it's all the more difficult to have faith the grid won't fail again.
Cover photo: IMAGO/ZUMA Wire