Texas power grid was ‘seconds or minutes’ from a total blackout that could have lasted months, ERCOT says
By By Catherine Marfin, Krista M. Torralva and Tom Steele February 18, 2021
Texas’ electrical system was “seconds or minutes” from collapsing and plunging the state into the dark for months, the power grid’s operators said Thursday while defending their decision to initiate controlled outages.
“Our frequency went to a level that, if operators had not acted very rapidly … it could have very quickly changed,” said Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that oversees the grid.
He said controlled outages were the only real choice because a true blackout would leave the entire state without power for an indefinite amount of time — possibly months.
In the wake of the widespread outages, elected and public officials have raised questions and called for investigations into ERCOT’s practices and preparations for extreme weather.
She said Texas lawmakers are asking for immediate federal assistance on a number of fronts, includinghome-repair aid, small-business loans and COVID-19 vaccination help.