Deadly Texas winter storm: Biggest cause of power outage was due to freezing or lack of wintering, report finds

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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — More than eight months since the incident winter freeze We understand better what led to this deadly disaster that killed hundreds of Texans and left millions in the dark.

On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission met and presented its preliminary findings and recommendations following the February freeze.

According to the report, the biggest reason for the outages was the lack of wintering generators for freezing or cold weather conditions. The report found that 44% of the problems were freezing, followed by natural gas fuel shortages, which accounted for 31% of unplanned outages.

The findings show that many of the natural gas production and processing facilities at the Texas Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are “not identified as critical load or protected from load shedding,” ultimately leading to a decline in natural gas production and supply.

The federal agency submitted 28 proposals, most of which should happen within the next two to three years.

Recommendations include providing annual training on wintering equipment and winterization plans. Generator owners experiencing interruptions or malfunctions due to freezing should review what happened and implement corrective action plans.

A similar report was published with recommendations after the 2011 power outages. Most power providers did not act on them. Ten years later, experts say the recommendations should be taken seriously.

“This time we need to listen. This report they released this week was very similar to the report they released in 2011 when we had the event known as the ‘Super Bowl freeze’. FERC and NERC published a report and they found the same shortcomings last time we didn’t listen We didn’t winterize our natural gas systems We didn’t winterize our power plants, I hope regulators are doing more this time around than before, but I still don’t think they’re doing enough,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of legislative and environmental engineering at Rice University of Texas.

The Texas power grid is a large and complex system, so how to fix it in the end?

“You’re starting to see that with the FERC/NERC report. They’re starting to address the fact that we’re going to have to make it economically advantageous for power producers and power producers in the state of Texas. We’ve woken up,” explained Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer at the University of Houston.

ABC13 reached out to ERCOT about FERC’s preliminary findings and they responded with the following statement:

“Changes are clearly needed to protect Texans from future winter weather events like Uri, and ERCOT is working closely with PUC to aggressively implement the Legislature’s mandate. We expect the report’s findings to complement the positive impact of PUC’s market redesign study sessions and Grid Our 60-Point Roadmap to Increasing Reliability.”

For more details on the report’s findings, visit: The website of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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