Texas lawmakers begin investigation into ERCOT’s actions during winter storms, power outages

Southwest

AUSTIN (NewsNation Now) — As the lights come back on for most Texans and plumbing problems linger, state leaders are lining up their questions for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

The next phase of storm recovery for state lawmakers involves helping people get the resources they need, and longer term, a looming investigation into the power grid operators.

“What the hell happened?” asked Austin State Rep. Celia Israel.

Israel, a Central Texas Democrat, hopes to that question answered in a series of public hearings next week. On the hot seat: leadership from ERCOT, the manager of the state’s power grid, and the people they answer to.

“Why didn’t the Public Utility Commission appointed by the governor do what they should do, which is to guide these private sector industries to make sure that the R in ERCOT was continuing to stand for reliable?” said Israel.

North Texas Republican Jeff Leach says some heads may roll in those agencies.

“We owe it to the people of Texas, who we answer to,” said Leach.

Governor Greg Abbott endorsed today funding winterization efforts down the road to prevent another crisis like the current one.

“All of the machinery that froze up and was unable to generate the power you need, that may require funding. The state of Texas should step up and provide that funding, ” said Abbott.

Israel is wary of the governor’s request, saying it should be the financial responsibility of those that caused the mess.

“I’m hesitant to spend state dollars on private corporations that need to take care of their stuff. You should have taken care of your stuff,” contended Israel.

In the meantime, state lawmakers are working across the aisle to try to get Texans access to what they need.

“This is obviously not a time for politics. This is not a time to point fingers. And this is a time say, what do you need when you need it?” said Israel.

NewsNation affiliate KXAN contributed to this report; reporting by Texas Capitol Correspondent Wes Rapaport

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