Lt. Gov. Patrick says investigation into power grid failure will begin this week

Lt. Gov. Patrick says investigation into power grid failure will begin this week
Dan Patrick

HOUSTON, Texas (KLTV) - Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick spoke in Houston Monday about the problems faced by the Texas power grid following last week’s winter storms.

Patrick said that ERCOT originally had 70,000 megawatts of power on hand at the time and demand was at 69,000 megawatts of power.

“And then the turbines shut down, there was no solar, it was night. And then the gas plants shut down, the new plant shut down, the clean burning coal shut down. And soon ERCOT was in a position of having in the mid 50s, the low 50s, the high 40s in terms of megawatts. And then when that happened, they contacted and began to contact the Oncors and the Centerpoints and the Entergys that you’ve got, you’ve got to bring down your power,” Patrick said.

Patrick said the next thing that could have happened was plants could have caught on fire, there could have been explosions, and the entire grid could have collapsed.

Patrick said back in 2011, the state went through a similar situation following winter weather then and they made recommendations to companies to winterize their systems. He said for the past 10 years, the legislature was told by ERCOT that what they had done in terms of winterization was working.

“And obviously with a severe storm, it didn’t work,” he said.

Patrick said investigations into what happened and what needs to be done will begin this week.

“This is not going to be a one or a two-day hearing, It will be this week, Thursday and Friday, as we begin to gather information and line up witnesses. This will be an ongoing process,” he said. “There may not be hearings five days a week, but there will be many hearings throughout this session.”

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