AUSTIN, Texas — After a week of severe winter weather and power loss to millions of Texans, KVUE's Bryan Mays discussed how this crisis could have been avoided and who is to blame.
Read the full transcript of Bryan's commentary below:
"You know, it's really hard to imagine how so many things could have gone so wrong during the winter storms that sent Texas back to the Dark Ages this week.
After all, this wasn't our first cold weather rodeo. Back in 2011 when Texas was hit with a winter storm that blacked out power to millions, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC recommended preventative measures to protect Texas power plants from future cold weather catastrophes.
It's called winterization. But it's pretty clear now that whatever winterization procedures were taken by the power companies in Texas back then – if any – just weren't enough.
The unreliable Energy Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, mandated rolling blackouts this week that were supposed to last about an hour at a time.
But, as you know, that turned into day after day of darkness as the state came within minutes of losing the whole power grid – potentially for months based on ERCOT's own admission.
Now that's shameful. Avoidable.
The Texas power grid is literally disconnected from the major national grids that cover the rest of the lower 48. Some of our Texas political leaders chose this policy in order to evade the authority of the feds at FERC, which oversees power grids across state lines.
Instead of talking about how to fix that, many of our state leaders want to blame renewable energy sources like wind generators, despite the fact that 61% – 61% – of the failures that happened at traditional power plants that use natural gas, coal or even nuclear energy.
Texas may pride itself on independence, but not all Texans are in this boat.
El Paso survived this same winter storm with flying colors. They've not fully winterized, or they winterized their power plants. They chose not to also be a part of ERCOT. When El Paso needed energy this weekend – and they did – they borrowed from their neighbors in the western states, something the rest of Texas can't do.
RELATED: ERCOT leaders spent less than a minute discussing winter storm preparedness at Feb. 9 meeting
Most elected officials have expressed their concern about the power failures and are promising now public hearings. But will those make a difference? One thing is clear: Ultimately, the people who are responsible for what happened this week owe you the answers. And if you don't like what they have to say, you can vote them out of office.
Let's all make sure that the candidates who come up for future elections – whether city, county or state – let you know where they stand on cleaning up the Texas electric power mess. Because that's what it is. The electric utility companies lost a lot of power this week, quite literally. But you have the power to make a difference at the ballot box, and that hasn't changed a bit."
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