What Texas could have done to prepare for mass outages

Texas could have done a better job investing in equipment to keep residents safe during outages like this week's storm.

Video Transcript

- That's certainly no way to hold people at ERCOT accountable. But with so many Texans still in the dark, we do want answers. And maybe the most fundamental question is, how can Texas seem so unprepared?

- We've all become armchair experts in the power grid this week. And what's become clear is that there are parts of this that are more Wild West than well-ordered.

- It is on a state-by-state basis in terms of regulation. There's a lot of different standards out there. It's a question whether any of them were necessarily robust enough in this state for this particular event.

- The weather is cold, colder than most any Texas winter. But it's not something Texas hasn't seen before. And report after report insists Texas should have winterized power plants better to avoid this kind of disaster. While some action was taken after the 2011 winter storm, none of it could be forced.

- Those are not mandatory. It's a voluntary guideline for the individual generation companies to decide to do those things.

- For its part, ERCOT, the non-profit agency that runs the Texas power grid, isn't taking any blame, despite a call last night right here for the group's top leadership to quit.

- Do you think ERCOT leadership needs to resign?

GREG ABBOTT: Yes.

BILL MAGNESS: Whatever the future holds, the priority for us now is to get the power back on.

- Today, ERCOT's CEO, Bill Magness, wouldn't talk about that. Magness started with ERCOT in 2010 and was there for that last severe weather storm in 2011 and the federal report that suggested more winterization. ERCOT's most recent tax filing shows Magness earns more than $800,000 a year from ERCOT. But today, he's not taking any blame, saying now is not the time.

BILL MAGNESS: And I think the assessment of how we did, I think, is something that can be done after we get the power back on.

- Maybe he can wait. But for a lot of Texans in the cold and dark, the assessment is already being made.