AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Governor Greg Abbott delivered a televised statewide address Wednesday, Feb. 24 discussing the recent power outages experienced across Texas and the state's ongoing recovery response to the winter storm.
"Tragic does not even begin to describe the devastation and suffering you endured over the past week," said Gov. Abbott. "Too many of you were shivering in your own homes, no power, no heat, no water."
Gov. Abbott said ERCOT must be overhauled.
On Tuesday, five leaders of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), including the board chairman and board vice chairman, resigned effective Wednesday.
A sixth person who was planning to fill a board seat, has withdrawn as a candidate.
The resignations follow power outages that left millions of Texans in the cold for days during one of coldest winter blasts in decades.
He said Texans have a right to be angry and he's angry, too.
"When essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers," Gov. Abbott told Texans. "You will get those answers."
He said the task now is to take the lessons learned and the "anger we all feel" and channel it into immediate action this legislative session.
One priority is protecting electricity consumers.
"You shouldn't be saddled with skyrocketing power bills," he said.
The state is investigating multiple providers about these spikes, also Gov. Abbott said Texans won't have their power shut off for unpaid bills until the legislature has time to act on this.
Gov. Abbott said power generation from all sources buckled under the harsh freezing winter weather that includes nat gas, coal, nuclear, as well as wind and solar.
"Each of these power sources failed to fully produce because of inadequate safeguards."
He said he has made it a legislative priority to mandate/fund the winterization/stabilization of the Texas power infrastructure.
"This will protect our power grid from future winter weather events."
He also said the "legislative session will not end until we fix these problems."
Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement following the governor's address, "Members of the board of ERCOT resigned for their failures and Greg Abbott should follow. He is the head of the state. He is responsible for this crisis."
Abbott's lack of foresight and inability to manage this crisis is part of a repeated pattern. He didn't take action when Texans were displaced during Hurricane Harvey, he refused to plan appropriately for the coronavirus crisis, his handling of vaccine distribution has been abysmal, and now, in Texas' time of greatest need during this winter storm, his incompetence is once again on full display."
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