In order to prevent a complete grid failure during last month’s winter storms, ERCOT said it had no other choice but to order outages.
- In the weeks after the winter storm that left millions of Texans without power for days, the CBS 11 I-Team has discovered a lack of preparedness and ignored warning signs by power companies and state officials. But none may be more aggravating to hear than this one. I-Team reporter, Brian New joins us with a preview of his investigation.
BRIAN NEW: To ensure this never happens again, experts and lawmakers say millions perhaps billions need to be invested to better prepare our power plants for the cold and to increase the state's energy storage. But there's also something else that could have been done that requires no money. And all it would have taken was to fill out a simple form.
Gas production facilities that fuel power plants should have been on electric providers critical list just like hospitals and 911 centers. Meaning when outages were ordered, their power should have stayed on. But most gas facilities were not on that list. So when power plants needed natural gas to keep running in the middle of the storms, many natural gas facilities were without electricity, leaving Texans in the dark and in the cold longer than they should have been.
To get on that critical list, electric providers like Oncor say all gas facilities needed to do was to fill out a form, but most did not.
ALLEN NYE: Though I'm not pointing fingers, because I'm part of this. But those people have to tell me what is critical, so I can keep it on. And they have to tell me if you keep this compressor on, it'll give gas into this pipeline, and it'll get to this power plant.
BRIAN NEW: But was it really that simple? The Texas oil and gas industry says there's more to this story. We'll hear from them tonight at 10:00 as well as why this lack of communication is nothing new. With the I-Team, Brian New, CBS 11 News.