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

KENS 5 spoke with the Texas leader to find out how much of a guarantee to keep the lights on this winter is.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The governor has given Texans a guarantee that the lights will stay on this winter after February’s deadly winter storm turned off the power for days.

“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 said. “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. 

"Let me mention several things. Texas has 15% more power generation and capability. They have winterization of all key components of the entire power grid. They also have a new operation model. The way ERCOT (the Electric Reliability Council of Texas) operated last year, they waited until a storm hit and then reacted to it belatedly. Now, that model is to act proactively days in advance of a storm to summon all the power that is needed to make sure we will be able to weather a winter storm.”

Yet legislation may not be enough to protect our power. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation released its winter reliability assessment last month, and the analysis shows Texas would be unable to meet almost 40% of power demands should extreme winter weather hit this year. 

That means more outages.

“I think the concern is still valid, I think,” said John Moura, the reliability assessment and performance analysis director for NERC, when the analysis was released. “The industry has done a tremendous amount of what they can, but there is still work to be done in order to make sure we’re resilient to these weather patterns. It’s going to take more than just one year to build that.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas’s (ERCOT) winter seasonal assessment shows there would be enough power during normal winter weather. However, it also reveals Texans would lose power if that winter weather turns extreme. 

Speaking directly with Abbott on Friday, KENS 5's Niccole Caan asked if he could make a 100% guarantee Texans would not face power issues 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 said.

Texans will find out who is right only if extreme weather decides to visit San Antonio once again.

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