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ERCOT: ‘Weather related’ problems were the biggest reason for power outages during Texas’ winter storm

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., (ERCOT), has released an early report on causes behind the mass generator outages during Texas’ historic Winter Storm Uri back in February.

ERCOT, which controls the flow of power in the state, indicates that the largest cause of outages from Monday, Feb. 15 to Friday, Feb. 19 is, unsurprisingly, “weather-related” problems.

The preliminary report, released Tuesday, shows an aggregate of outages and their causes. In addition to total outages, “derates” — or partial outages — are also factored in.

ERCOT says “weather related” outages include frozen equipment, ice accumulation, ice/snow cover, and flooded equipment.

The next biggest reason for outages is listed as “equipment issues,” followed by “fuel limitations,” and finally, “existing outages.”

“Equipment issues” include failures or malfunctions not related to the cold weather, ERCOT says.

Meanwhile, the most minimal reasons indicated are “frequency related,” “transmission loss” and “miscellaneous.” Here, “transmission loss,” means a forced outage.

During the storm and in the weeks after, ERCOT gained global attention for management of the events, which resulted in seismic shifts within the council, investigations, state legislature hearings, and calls for an operational overhaul.

In the wake of continued outages, Texas Governor Greg Abbott made investigation into the council an emergency item for the current legislative session.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Abbott. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

With the spotlight bearing down on the council, several board members resigned, many were harshly criticized for being charge of Texas’ power flow while living elsewhere — including outside of the U.S.

Then, on March 3, ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness was given a 60-day termination notice by the council’s board of directors, with no specific reason given. While Magness was eligible to receive a severance package of up to $800,000, he announced he would not accept it.

ERCOT says it will give the report to Texas lawmakers.

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