Abbott To Texans: Reform After Power Outages Will Happen


Texas Governor Greg Abbott is vowing to help all those affected by last week's state-wide power outages.

Abbott gave a statewide address promising to get all the answers needed on why millions couldn't turn on the lights or heat when winter storms hit. The governor says the Texas Legislature will take the lessons learned from the last week to come up with immediate solutions to keep the outages from happening again. Abbott says the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state's power grid, will be reformed. The Texas House is holding a hearing on Thursday looking at the outages and potential ERCOT changes.

Here is a transcript of the Governor's prepared remarks:

My fellow Texans.

Good evening from the State Emergency Operations Center. 

Tragic does not even begin to describe the devastation and the suffering that you have endured over the past week.

Too many of you were shivering in your own homes with no power, no heat, and no water.

I want to thank the countless Texans who stepped up to help those in need. As is often the case in Texas, the worst of events brings out the best in Texans. For those of you still hurting, I want you to know that the state is using every resource to fix this problem.

Many of you are angry. You have every right to be. I’m angry too. At a time when essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers. You will get those answers.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, manages the flow of power in Texas. Before the storm hit, ERCOT repeatedly assured the state and the public that ERCOT was prepared.

Those assurances turned out to be false.

We now know that power generators of all sources were not prepared for this severe winter weather. We have also learned that ERCOT operators should have acted quicker to stabilize the grid and to prevent power generators from being knocked offline.

Our task now is to take the lessons of the past week and the anger that we all feel and channel them into immediate action.

I made responding to this storm an emergency item this legislative session. I am already working on solutions with the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the Legislature.

First is protecting you. It is outrageous for residents to be saddled with skyrocketing power bills.

The state is already investigating multiple electric providers about these spikes. Also, we have ordered that Texans will not have their power shut off because of unpaid bills until the legislature has time to act on this.

Second, ERCOT must be overhauled. Five ERCOT board members have already resigned, including the Chair and Vice-Chair. But more must be done. Tomorrow the Legislature begins comprehensive investigations of ERCOT.

I am already working with the Legislature on reforms to add more power to the grid and to ensure that we never run out of power again. Also, the Office of the Attorney General has launched a formal investigation into ERCOT.

Third, the fact is, power generation from all sources buckled under the harsh, freezing winter weather. That includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, as well as wind and solar. Each of these power sources failed to fully produce because of inadequate safeguards.

That is why I have made it a Legislative priority to mandate and to fund the winterization of the Texas power infrastructure. This will protect our power grid from future winter weather events.

No words can fix what happened or ease the pain that you endured. But I assure you this: this legislative session will not end until we fix these problems.

And we will ensure that the tragic events of the past week are never repeated.

Your safety is my top concern.

I pray that God continues to bless you all.


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