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U.S. Rep. Says “Engineering Stupidity” Caused Blackouts

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Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

Incandescent light bulb is illuminated next to electricity pylons. (credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (KRLD) – One North Texas Congressman blames the construction of the state’s newer power plants for the recent Texas-wide power emergency.

Representative Joe Barton says the bitter cold may be an act of God, but the failure of the energy system is not. “It’s just kind of engineering stupidity at its extreme,” he said.

In this case, Barton believes newer wasn’t better. “It just turns out that the newer power plants just weren’t properly weatherized,” he explained. “It’s not the old plants that kicked off, in most cases, it’s the new plants.”

Burst water pipes at two newer coal-fired power plants forced them to shut down, thus putting unprecedented demand on the rest of the grid.

TCU professor Dr. Ken Morgan says the burst pipes were the beginning of a cascade effect. “We’d reached capacity for generating electricity and usage was at an all-time high, and the reserves and backup were not able to be delivered fast enough,” he explained. “When you have all of those things happen something’s gotta give in the system, and they wanted to avoid a total blackout, so they went to a ‘rolling’.”

With thousands of Texans still without power, many people are calling for more regulation of the energy industry to solve the problem, but Barton says Texas simply needs better-built plants, that can withstand winter weather.

Listen to Rep. Joe Barton’s comments as heard on 1080 KRLD

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