Watch CBS News

Feds Make New Recommendations To Texas To Prevent Deadly Power Outages From Happening Again

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The heads of two federal agencies that investigated the deadly power outages in Texas said it was a wake-up call for everyone.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) made a number of recommendations to prevent the outages from happening again. The Department of State Health Services said 210 people in Texas died in February after numerous power plants failed because of bitter cold temperatures or they couldn't access fuel to operate. Wind turbines also froze.

Earlier this year, the Texas legislature passed laws to address the issues, including requiring power generation plant operators to winterize their facilities. But Richard Glick, Chair of FERC told reporters Thursday, "Essentially the requirements in Texas that were implemented recently were to have a plan, a plan of action for winterization, which is very important, but not specific elements, what specific actions should be taken to ensure those generation facilities are sufficiently weatherized."

Recommendations from the feds include building or retrofitting existing generators to operate based on extreme weather, taking into account the wind and precipitation when winterizing their plants, and putting in place corrective action plans for generators that have freeze-related outages.

Federal officials want to study whether the Texas grid operator, ERCOT, should be connected to the western and eastern grids, which is not the case. Glick said, "The discussion should be how can we work together to ensure that Texas has access to more power when something like this happens, they can lean on other regions that aren't experiencing the same weather conditions at the same time."

Years ago, Texas decided to remain independent from the rest of the country. After a powerful winter storm hit North Texas ten years ago, the federal agencies made a number of recommendations to Texas that Glick said were either watered down or ignored, and he doesn't want that to happen again. "People literally froze to death. The worst part about this, the one part that is most frustrating is that it was avoidable."

He said the recommendations still need to be approved and finalized.

Follow Jack on Twitter & Facebook: @cbs11jack

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.