By Staff

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – ERCOT has officially ended emergency conditions and they are back to normal operations.

This means Texans are no longer asked to conserve energy.

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CEO Bill Magness acknowledged the hardships facing Texans this week but said the controlled outages saved the grid from experiencing weeks, even months of outages.

“I want to acknowledge the immense amount of human suffering… As a company that does all it can to provide for its customers, watching those heart-breaking conditions over several days was terrible,” said Magness in a media call Friday morning.

In response to Governor Abbott’s claim that ERCOT “failed,” in its handling of the historic winter storm, Magness admitted there are “always things they can do better,” but defended the hard decision made to protect the system. “The decision our operators made Sunday morning to protect the system is one I will defend. Our operators were calm and did their job,” said Magness.

He explained that ERCOT “really didn’t have a choice when the storm came in,” due to customer demand, which far exceeded what was anticipated.

“We could manage with only 60% of supply and the only way we could do that was with the outages. And those outages served their purpose. Had we not done that, I am pretty sure we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about outages. We’d be talking about plans to restore the power grid weeks… even months from now,” said Magness.

When asked why power plants in Texas started flicking offline Sunday night, Magness replied, “ERCOT doesn’t run power plants. If they get broken in storm damage or otherwise, we can’t make them work.”

Calling the energy crisis “One of the worst weather events in Texas,” Magness praised the “experts who got out in the middle of the night and fixed the power plants.”

To those who have called for ERCOT “to pay,” for the suffering ultimately caused by the state’s electric grid operator losing control of the power supply, Magness assured that they will “do whatever the legislative and policy makers tell us to do.”

Ultimately, ERCOT is subject to policy and rules set forth by international regulatory authority, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). Its mission is to assure the effective and efficient reduction of risks to the reliability and security of the grid.

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But the winter storm was so massive, fluid and fast-paced that outages weren’t able to effectively roll. This left millions in the dark for days.

“The amount of demand was so large that when we directed the transmission company, it was such a large block it made it harder for them to rotate them. The amount of megawatts that was needed was diminished,” explained Magness. “Texas cannot afford for this to happen again.”

More than half of ERCOT’s winter generating capacity, largely powered by natural gas, was offline due to the storm, an estimated 45 gigawatts, according to Dan Woodfin, a senior director at ERCOT.

In the immediate future, there are two legislative hearings, one in the Texas Senate and another in the House of Representatives set to address the situation for next Thursday. ERCOT will present at both.

And looking further in the future, should another catastrophic weather event cause a statewide blackout, Woodfin assured “there is a plan in place to restart the system if it ever goes down.”





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