Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—As of Tuesday morning, more than four million Texans were without power after planned rolling blackouts turned into prolonged outages and are still not back online.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is facing criticism as millions demand answers.
State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, who spent more than 20 hours without power in his home, spoke to KVEO and said even the food supply chain is being interrupted.
Photo taken by viewer at HEB in the city of Weslaco:
“Half the restaurants that are regularly open are closed,” said Lucio III. “I think some HEB’s have no power. It’s a terrible situation.”
Lucio III said situation’s like these serve as a learning experience for the future.
“Are we prepared in terms of how we are going to be organized and how are we going to administer a situation like this?” asked Lucio III. “Everything that could go wrong possibly went wrong, as I understand it.”
Lucio III sits on the House State Affairs committee, which regulates power distribution and generation in Texas. He said the committee already has a hearing with Magness scheduled for next week.
Lucio III also attended a briefing call Tuesday morning with ERCOT. He said that not only there is a huge demand for power, but there are also issues with the state’s gas distribution pipelines going offline. Power generation plants are having similar issues.
“People want to point the finger right now at renewables, like solar and wind,” said Lucio III. “That is just a fraction of the situation.”
On Monday, Governor Greg Abbott declared he is making reform of the ERCOT, an emergency item for this legislative session.
“I know a meeting does not give people relief,” said Lucio III. “I hope there are some folks that are opening their homes for friends and family.”
Bill Magness, the president, and CEO of ERCOT — which manages the flow of electric power in the state — spoke to KXAN Tuesday morning and said their primary function is to keep that balance, to ensure large collapses do not happen.
“Even during rolling blackouts, which ERCOT is saying is up to the retailers to be able to hit switches for certain neighborhoods,” said Lucio III, “what happens is, as I understand it, the panel that manages the distribution that neighborhood is so overloaded all at once because you go from nothing to a huge surge.”
During an emergency meeting Monday night, the Texas Public Utility Commission allowed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to modify pricing models after the demand for electricity increased.
“I can’t even imagine why an issue like that come up or why a discussion like that would come up. It’s very upsetting,” said Lucio III.
Power outages are expected to continue at least into Wednesday.