AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday expressed confidence in the state’s power grid and its ability to handle the spike in demand that is expected during a winter storm this week.
The storm is forecast to bring snow, ice and subfreezing temperatures across a nearly 3,000-mile swath of the U.S. – from Texas to New England. Cold air begins spilling into Texas on Wednesday and will make it to the Gulf Coast by Thursday night.
This week’s blast of cold air will produce some of the coldest temperatures recorded in the state since the February 2021 winter storm, which left millions in Texas without power or water for days. More than 200 people died in the storm.
Investigations that followed revealed frozen equipment at power plants and the supply lines that feed them led to the blackouts. Since then, lawmakers upped the fines for power generators and transmitters that fail to weatherize their facilities.
Abbott, who was joined by officials from a variety of state agencies for a news conference in Austin on Tuesday, said 99% of those facilities are operational and that more power generation is being brought online in advance of the storm.
"No one can guarantee that there won’t be a, quote, load-shed event, but what we will work and strive to achieve, and what we’re prepared to achieve, is that the power is going to stay on across the entire state," Abbott said.
Brad Jones, the interim CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, assured people that the agency will have an ample supply of power to handle the spike in demand that Abbott said is forecast to peak Friday morning.
"We are ready for this storm," Jones said. "We’ll be prepared for this. We have about 71,000 megawatts of expected load, which will be a record for ERCOT during the winter … but at the same time we have 86,000 megawatts of available generation, some of that coming from the western part of the country."
Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said crews have been positioned across the state to help address any power concerns that may arise during the storm.
Abbott said things like fallen trees or ice can bring down power lines, which could lead to an outage. He said those issues will be addressed by the local power providers.
The governor said crews have also started treating roads in areas where wintry precipitation is expected. Officials urged drivers to use caution, especially when traveling on bridges or overpasses.