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Gov. Abbott backtracks on guarantee that lights will stay on during severe winter weather

On Feb. 1, Abbott said "no one can guarantee that there won't be a 'load shed event.'" This contradicts statements he told KENS 5 in early December 2021.

AUSTIN, Texas — As an Arctic front closes in on Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference Tuesday to inform and prepare Texans on what to expect with the coming storm. 

"Obviously, we have a very substantial winter storm coming into Texas over the next few days that will be in the State of Texas for the remainder of the week," Abbott said. "We want to make sure that our fellow Texans know exactly what is coming, what to expect. We want them to know what Texas has been doing for basically an entire year now to be prepared for the storm, in addition to steps that have been taken over the past week or two, as well as what we will be doing over the course of the remainder of the week."

Abbott said that Texas will be using every applicable State agency to make sure the state can "robustly respond" to the upcoming storm. 

Abbott also stated in the Feb. 1 press conference that "no one can guarantee that there won't be a 'load shed event.'" 

"But what we will work and strive to achieve, and what we're prepared to achieve, is that the power is going to stay on across the entire state," he added.

Watch the full press conference here:

This statement Abbott made Tuesday directly contradicts a promise he declared at the beginning of December 2021, where he told KVUE sister station KENS 5 that the lights will stay on this winter.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott & power assessors disagree on if the lights will stay on during extreme storms this winter

“I signed 12 new laws after that storm to make sure our power grid is resilient and reliable and stable, even during the harshest of winter storms,” Gov. Greg Abbott told KENS 5 in a one-on-one interview. “Action has been taken already to make sure that it is accomplished. In fact, I learned an in an update earlier today when I met, once again, the chairman for the Public Utilities Commission and he assures me that the power grid will be ready for the winter storm. 

KENS 5 reporter Niccole Caan doubled down, asking Abbott "100% guaranteed, there is not going to be an issue this winter?"

"Based upon all of the changes that have been made by the Public Utilities Commission and by ERCOT, they’ve taken action items including making sure to have additional power available to make sure ERCOT’s power system will remain stable and reliable throughout the entire winter,” the governor responded.

Abbott added in his Feb. 1 press conference that the PUC has been holding meetings on winter storm preparations and was inspecting power generators across the state. He said 99%, if not more, of those generators have passed inspections. He also added that the PUC will provide staff 24/7 for the state operations center and will provide updates about utility and electric outages across Texas.

"They are already bringing more generation online sooner than what happened last year," the governor said. "They have additional crews already deployed."

Abbott said on Feb. 1 that there is a probability that some Texans could lose power during the upcoming storm because of reasons that do not have to do with the electric grid, such as ice accumulation on power lines or falling trees.

ERCOT on Jan. 28 issued an operation condition notice for this storm starting Feb. 2.

"If the need arises ... ERCOT is using a conservative approach to grid management and forecast to make sure that they are prepared," the governor said. "It's our understanding, as we discussed just moments before coming out here, that the time during the course of this winter storm when we are expecting the highest demand for power from the power grid is going to be on Friday morning. Today, right now, the prognostication is that ERCOT will have an excess of 15,000 megawatts of power available, even at the time of highest demand. So ERCOT is well prepared for conditions as they currently stand, but remains flexible in order to be able to be responsive to power demand needs."

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