To the Editor:
First, I want to ensure the entire community provides tremendous appreciation and thanks and truly supports all our first responders as well as those many who work behind the scenes in government and various businesses to assist our population to keep power, water and essential services working during these unusual weather events. They have made herculean efforts on all fronts and I, for one, greatly appreciate and respect them.
Nevertheless, it is becoming more apparent that our power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT — a nonprofit corporation) has patently failed in its responsibilities.
In 2011 (and, previously, I believe in the 1980s) there were similar power outages. ERCOT was apparently provided with lessons learned and specific recommendations to prevent such outages occurrence again. Apparently, many (or most) of the recommendations seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
If this would have been a “surprise” event, one could be more understanding; however, there was significant warning of our current weather event — yet ERCOT had not ensured that various power plants / suppliers were adequately prepared.
I am confident that in the days to come we will hear that ERCOT “did all they could do” to take action — e.g. rolling blackouts for undetermined lengths of time, blackouts for a short period of time, etc.
I am also confident that we will hear that money has something to do with it when power generation operators are questioned.
There is a financial cost for power plants to ensure heating units are provided for sensitive equipment.
There is a financial cost for power plants to take efforts to modernize their systems.
Well, too darned bad. ERCOT provides operation of a PUBLIC UTILITY. They and the 800+ generators should be held accountable — not only collectively, but individually.
ERCOT should either get new representation who could be proactive in such situations of high demand due to weather or they should be abolished and replaced with an organization that has direct authority to demand and ensure power plant upgrades and improvements.
I am confident the Public Utility Commission of Texas will be encouraged to become involved. — especially since they have jurisdiction over the actions of ERCOT.
This is an issue that should not be one which is “forgotten” after the event is over. Unfortunately, Americans typically have short memories. In this case, let us get long memories and use our voice with our State leadership and representatives to demand answers and actions that will ensure that Texas Electric Reliability means just that — reliability for our citizens.
In this day and age, this need not happened at this magnitude again.