Texans: What was your winter storm experience? State House Speaker wants input to avoid another disaster

Texas Politics

“State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, announced on Nov. 4, 2020 in a press conference that he had enough pledged support from lawmakers to become the Speaker of the Texas House. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)”

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Speaker of the Texas House is asking for input from the public on the effects of the statewide power outages, as lawmakers prepare for hearings this week.

The first hearing on the electric blackouts is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25, in a joint hearing between the State Affairs and Energy Resources committees.

Speaker Dade Phelan is soliciting comments for lawmakers to consider to give state officials a better understanding of the individual impacts of the winter storm around the state.

“I encourage Texas residents to use the House’s public comment portal to formally share their experiences & thoughts about the electric blackouts,” Phelan tweeted, with a link to the portal.

Upwards of four million Texans had power problems during the winter storm, which dumped ice and snow across every Texas county. Leadership from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (the manager of the Texas power grid) will face questions from lawmakers at the hearing.

ERCOT’s CEO defended the actions to force power companies to leave Texans in the dark, and in many cases without heat, as the state-run grid was “seconds and minutes” from collapsing. Gov. Greg Abbott called for an investigation into the council, which answers to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Abbott is responsible for appointing the PUC commissioners.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have put out calls for comments.

“Hey y’all, tell the Texas House about your experience with #TexasBlackout,” State Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, tweeted.

“We need to hear from all Texans and immediately get to work on formulating a plan to prevent this nightmare from ever happening again. #NoMoreBlackouts,” State Rep. David Cook, R-Mansfield, tweeted.

To submit a statement, visit the House Public Comment website by clicking here.

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