SAN ANTONIO — On the campaign trail Wednesday, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke blamed Gov. Greg Abbott for last year's power grid meltdown.
"Our governor has still not fixed the grid," O'Rourke told a packed crowd at The Friendly Spot Ice House in San Antonio.
O'Rourke has consistently attacked Abbott for his response to the Feb. 2021 winter storm. Democrats and Republicans were united in their disdain for the state's energy regulators then, according to post-crash polling.
"We've got to weatherize every part of the grid," O'Rourke told KENS 5. "We've got to look at whether we should interconnect with the national grid so that when we have a power problem, we can draw power from the rest of the country."
The 49-year-old also says he wants to invest in programs that help consumers weatherize and make their own homes efficient.
Abbott signed into law a comprehensive bill that seeks to address some of the problems associated with the winter storm. The legislature restructured ERCOT, the grid's regulator, as well.
But a loophole in the comprehensive bill has drawn ire from both republican and democratic lawmakers. The measure effectively allows some natural gas providers to 'opt-out' of weatherization requirements by paying a small fee.
O'Rourke also blamed Abbott for rate hikes that some providers passed onto consumers. San Antonio's council recently approved a rate increase for CPS Energy.
Recent reports from ERCOT indicate the state's power system is ready to handle cooler weather, including the cold front expected to move through southern Texas Wednesday night.