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Winter Storm Recovery Update

February 18, 2021

Winter Storm Recovery Update

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott met with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Railroad Commission, and several other state agencies working together to address the loss of power, freezing temperatures, and resulting emergencies caused by a 150-year severe freeze. Below are a few major takeaways:

1. Compromised Energy Throughout the State: Every source of power in the state has been compromised including wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal. Systems froze and equipment failed. 600 megawatts have been added to the grid, delivering power to 1.2 million households. More capacity will be added, servicing 400 thousand homes by tonight. The South Texas Nuclear Plant and coal generators are back up and running and will increase power to the grid as well.

2. Road Conditions: Transportation issues will remain until the weather improves over the weekend. Please heed all warnings and stay off the roads if you can.

3. Oil & Gas Supply: The Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas is working to ensure that all fossil fuels and natural gas are safely delivered to plants to be processed.

4. Frozen Pipes: Pipes have frozen all over the state, bursting and causing severe damage to homes and businesses. Texans should shut off their water line to prevent pipes from freezing. Be proactive with plumbers for repairs and insurance for claims. The federal government has declared this a disaster, and FEMA funds will be available.

5. Government Cooperation: State Agencies are working together to coordinate services. This includes the Texas National Guard helping the elderly get to warming centers, Texas DPS delivering blood and oxygen to hospitals and care centers, TXDOT clearing roads to critical infrastructure, and health care centers. Dozens of agencies are working together to help Texans in need.

6. Compromised Water: 110 counties are dealing with contaminated water and issued boil notices. Take this warning seriously, and the state is working with labs to test the contaminates and ensure clean water, but it will take a few days to get clearance.

7. Legislative Oversight and Investigations into ERCOT & PUC: Next week, both the House and Senate will be holding hearings to address these failures and will get to the bottom of what went wrong, and what could have been done to prevent the widespread damage. The governor has understandably declared this an emergency item. I am a member of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce and stand ready to ask hard questions and bring solutions for Texas families and businesses.

Too many Texans are still struggling without heat, power, and water — I stand ready to help any way I can. Do not hesitate to email me at Brandon.Creighton@senate.texas.gov if you need assistance.