ERCOT: Power outages meant to save Texas from longer-lasting ‘cascading, catastrophic blackout’

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — As resident tensions rise during persisting power outages across Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is set to give the latest information about what’s being done and why this is happening.

President and CEO Bill Magness gave the latest update for Wednesday alongside Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin.

Magness said he understands everyone wants to know when the outages will end.

“The factors that will determine the time and date that we can get everyone back on service are really two-fold,” said Magness. “One is — and we’ve discussed this a lot as we’ve gone through this event — there was an enormous amount of electric generation, the supply side, that was taken out of service by the storm…. so getting those resources back on the grid is the central solution to getting people their power back.”

Magness echoed previous statements he’s made about needing to maintain the balance of power supply and demand — he says without this maintenance, Texas risks a “cascading, catastrophic blackout. Not an outage that we can restore as soon as we get power plants working again, but a blackout that would affect the entire ERCOT region. And would have an indeterminate end date.”

ERCOT’s CEO says the outages that began at 1 a.m. Monday were necessary to prevent this even bigger disaster.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, ERCOT said about 600,000 homes had had power restored, but that 2.7 million homes were still waiting. Magness said ERCOT is constantly working to fix this.

During the Wednesday interview, Woodfin explained that ERCOT was able to restore 1000 megawatts to the system. “As generation comes available, we’re utilizing it to the maximum amount possible to restore consumers as soon as we can.”

ERCOT is optimistic about the next few days as regeneration continues.

On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared an investigation into the council and called for resignations of officials.

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