Nine months after the winter storm that left Texans across the state freezing in the dark, many Central Texans are still dealing with the emotional aftermath.
Freezes like the one this year are rare and freezes that cover the entire state are rarer still.
The power and gas industries say they are working to make their systems more reliable during winter storms, and the Public Utility Commission, the state agency that regulates the power industry, finally acted on recommendations that federal regulators made a decade ago after another severe winter storm.
But energy experts say Texas’ grid remains vulnerable, largely because new regulations allowed too much wiggle room for companies to avoid weatherization improvements that can take months or years.
The guarantee that the lights will stay on started with Governor Greg Abbott and has now filtered down to the regulators he installed after the last freeze.
“The ERCOT grid is stronger and more reliable than ever,” said Lake, who was appointed to the PUC — the state’s electric utility regulator — in April. “We are going into the winter knowing that the lights will stay on.”
One difference between now and this time last year is that state regulators and the main players in the electric grid — the companies that generate, transmit, and distribute electricity and the companies that supply electric plants with fuel — know just how wrong things can go.
Chances are that winter weather won’t be as bad as it was last February. Chances are, Texas won’t have the electric blackouts that caused so much misery then. And chances are, whatever happens, will have some influence on the 2022 elections.
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.