Failure in Austin!

In February 2021 a massive freeze cover most of the state of Texas. 246 people died as a result of the failure of the statewide power grid. The demand far exceed the available power and there were many power outages that lasted anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Many power plants were offline for “scheduled maintenance”, therefore reducing the number of plants that could be brought online to provide power.

Fortunately or unfortunately the legislature was in session at the time of this event. This should have provided a high level of motivation to make the needed changes in the power grid. During the 140-day regular legislative session they focused mostly on voter suppression bills and abortion restriction bills, then at the 11th hour decided to throw a Band-Aid on the power grid. They basically told ERCOT (the organization in charge of the power grid) to make a few improvements and pass he cost along to the consumers.

Moving forward to May 2022 with the temperatures expected to be in the mid to upper 90’s. The warning alarms are already going off. Turn your thermostat up to 78 degrees and don’t run appliances between 4pm and 9pm. It May and it’s not even really that hot and yet we have began rationing power.

Here are a few directives that should have been given to ERCOT after the “Deep Freeze” in February 2021.

1. Power plants are only allowed to go offline for scheduled maintenance the last two weeks of October through the middle of December or the middle of March through the end of April. They must be able to function at a 90% of their capacity at all other times of the year.

2. Minimal cost of of upgrades/improvements may be passed along to the consumers, not to exceed 5% of their average monthly bill.

3. Build more power plants. The known population of Texas in 1990 was 17.9 million, in 2000 was 20.9 million and in 2020 was 29.1 million. More people require more power but yet we are not building more power plants. The population has almost doubled in 30 years.

These are all forward thinking ideas that will require some boldness and yes some money. They also will require leadership that is not focused on issues that majority of the state feels are lower priorities. Immigration is a federal issue. Abortion and trans-gender children are personal matters, not matters for the state of Texas.

Let’s stop wasting state resources on a made up border crisis and focus on what is really needed and important, KEEPING THE POWER ON FOR EVERYONE.

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