Report Reveals That Texas Power Grid Was 4 Minutes, 37 Seconds Away from ‘Total Collapse’

CBS 11 Dallas

Many Texas residents experienced power outages during the highly unusual winter storm that hit the state earlier this month. While many people in northern states are used to winter weather, it’s safe to say that many people have not experienced such extreme conditions as Texas residents had to endure.

Power outages in below freezing weather meant that some people had icicles hanging from ceiling fans, and the water in the bathtub was frozen solid. It was more than just a little snow. It meant waking up in the dark and bundling up to stay warm. It meant not being able to drive on the roads since slow plows had yet to clear them. It meant taking refuge in a furniture store since there was no power at home.

Now we know that what was a bad situation in Texas came very close to being much, much worse. In fact, the Texas power grid was only 4 minutes and 37 seconds away from “total collapse.” If the power grid had collapsed, it could have left Texas residents without power for not just hours or days but for weeks.

ERCOT is responsible for about 90% of the electricity in the state of Texas. In a board meeting, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness acknowledged, “This was a devastating event.” He went on to explain that rolling power outages were essential to prevent a complete system blackout. 

“If we have a blackout of the system, the system is out for an indeterminate amount of time, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to bring it back. We might still be talking about when’s the power coming back on if we let the system get to that condition.”

Magness also stated that he regrets that the power outages happened.

We regret this event took the time it did to resolve. What ERCOT wants to do today, what ERCOT wants to do at the legislative hearings tomorrow and going forward is provide explanations, not excuses.”

Watch the video below to learn more about the Texas legislature’s investigation of ERCOT.

Six members of ERCOT’s board have submitted their resignation. None of those former board members live in Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott promises to continue the ERCOT investigation and “ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated.”

Do you know anyone who lost power in Texas during the winter storm? Does it surprise you that ERCOT didn’t winterize the power lines? What do you think could be done to prevent another power outage in the future?