ERCOT CEO: ‘Catastrophic Blackout’ Would Have Hit Texas Without Outages

ice on highway sign in texas

Rolling power outages that left millions of Texans shivering in their unheated homes were necessary to stabilize the state’s power grid because the system was not able to sustain the demand that happened with the massive winter storm that hit the state, Bill Magness, the president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is insisting.

“Demand and supply have to be closely in balance,” Magness told CNN “New Day” anchor Alisyn Camerota. “If we let it get far enough out of balance or long enough it causes a catastrophic blackout … those are the worst outcomes that grid operators like ERCOT try to prevent.”

Camerota pointed out to Magness that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is reporting that he had assured him that the power grid was ready before the storm hit. 

He responded that when ERCOT, which manages the flow of electric power for the state, says it’s ready, what that means is the need to “warn generators, warn transmission owners we see a big event happening. We did that in the week before the storm.”

But while Magness defended the decision for the rolling power outages, he said he would not call the matter a “success story,” even though there could have been worse outcomes. 

Magness further deflected calls from Abbott that he resign his post, but said ERCOT will be explaining the decisions that were made on the electric grid. 

In addition, Magness rejected arguments that Texas would be better served to join in the national power grid, rather than operating an independent system. 

“Our neighbors, who power could have come in from, were having similar problems to us. The power grids on the east and to the west and that are in Texas were having similar issues,” he said, rejecting Camerota’s argument that nearby states did not end up with a bad situation like Texas. 

Magness also insisted, when asked if Texans can have confidence in his management of ERCOT, that they can have confidence in grid operators “who made the very difficult decisions that prevented much, much worse blackouts.”


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Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.

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