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Texas Governor Blasts Grid Boss, Seeks Power Plant Upgrades

Joe Carroll
·2 min read
Texas Governor Blasts Grid Boss, Seeks Power Plant Upgrades

(Bloomberg) -- Texas Governor Greg Abbott demanded that lawmakers make winterization of power plants mandatory under state law after four days of widespread blackouts and water shortages.

Abbott harshly criticized the state’s grid manager, known as Ercot, and its chief executive officer, Bill Magness, for what he said was a failure to provide a realistic assessment of Texas’s generating capacity prior to the unprecedented cold snap.

“Ercot has failed on each of these measures that they said they had undertaken,” Abbott said during a media briefing on Thursday. “Texans deserve answers.”

In his sternest remarks to date on the performance of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Abbott said the group needs to be reformed and called for a restructuring of the board and its membership.

During a separate news briefing earlier in the day, Magness deflected criticism of the grid manager and growing calls for its restructuring.

“If there’s dissatisfaction with how Ercot’s board governance process works, it sounds like that will be part of the review that comes after the number one priority of getting people’s lights back on,” Magness said.

The Republican governor also said he has asked the Biden administration for a major disaster declaration, partly because such a measure would enable individual Texans to seek reimbursement for residential damage such as burst water pipes.

President Joe Biden, in a telephone call with Abbott on Thursday evening, “reiterated that the federal government will continue to work hand-in-hand with state and local authorities in Texas to bring relief and address the critical needs of the families affected,” the White House said in a statement.

(Updates with White House statement, in final paragraph.)

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