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Shifting Blame, Legislators Tear Into PUC and ERCOT During Hearings

As Texas Legislators continue to dig into the how’s and why’s of last week’s horrific winter storm that crippled the state’s energy system, frustrations at waffling and a lack of clear answers by witnesses dogged the proceedings.

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness was questioned in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee Thursday morning. As senators tried to nail down responsibilities gaps in oversight continue to surface.

Senator Whitmire spoke to the heart of the responsibility issue, “Would it be accurate to say that it’s your job to prevent us from having a catastrophe like we had in the last 10 days?” Whitmire said. “I’m looking for where does the buck stop. Is it you? Is it the (Public Utility Commission)? Certainly, is it the Legislature?”

“I believe the operators on our team did everything they could have,” Magness replied. “As I sit here now, I don’t think I would have” done anything differently amid the crisis according to the Austin American Statesman.

Questions about regulating weatherization also exposed gaps in the system where Magness confirmed that only generator owners can confirm whether they have been weatherized.

But as senators questioned Magness in the Senate the joint hearing between House State Affairs and Energy Resources heard testimony from and questioned energy CEOs from Vistra Corp. and NRG.

Curt Morgan, CEO of Vista Corp. said that he had contacted Gov. Abbott’s office ahead of the winter storm to make them aware of “concerns” and recommend more public awareness about possible impacts.

As hearings continue into the night, the Texas Legislature is still hunting for who and what to blame.

Written by RA News staff.


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