NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Six months after a series of winter storms left thousands of Texans without power, Texans for Fair Energy Billing is warning that legislative inaction has left the state power grid unprepared for the upcoming winter.
The consumer advocacy group is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to add energy reliability and price transparency to his Special Session agenda to ensure updates occur in time for what is predicted to be an especially harsh winter.
The Farmers' Almanac predicts another cold winter in Texas with winter freezes and snowstorms in late January akin to Winter 2021. The group says promised weatherization has not occurred and has left the grid vulnerable to another winter storm.
"There is still more that must be done in order to protect Texans from the harm caused by our energy market," said TXFEB Founder Brandon Young. "Gov. Abbott has the opportunity to make real progress on this bi-partisan issue which is on the minds of all Texans as we head into the colder months. We must act now before it is too late."
The group says the fatal events of the winter storms will impact Texans and the state economy for years to come. In July 2021 the Texas Department of State Health Services updated its official tally of deaths linked to the historic freeze. Officials now say 210 people across the state died because of the winter storms. Estimates indicate the storms and power outages may cost the state economy between $80 billion and $130 billion in direct and indirect economic loss.
With another harsh winter on the horizon, Texans for Fair Energy Billing says the state must act quickly to prevent another disaster. The group claims that in the six months since the storm government leaders have done little to address the causes and lasting effects on the state.
The group made the points that —
- ERCOT has issued multiple conservation notices despite state officials claiming the grid is stable.
- The ERCOT interim CEO agreed with the state's energy watchdog that scarcity pricing was left in place for an extra 32-hours - yet no investigation or price change has occurred.
- Because of the February storms, Texans face massive energy bills, yet energy availability and costs to Texas residents have not been a topic on either Special Session Agenda.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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