AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — For the second day in a row, members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are being grilled by lawmakers in Austin about the state power grid and the blackouts that left Texans in the cold and dark, and cost some their lives.

Peaking during the Senate hearing in Austin the CEO Of Oncor, Allen Nye, testified that his team saw energy numbers so low that Texas was on the brink of a statewide blackout that could have lasted until St. Patrick’s Day.

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“But at 2:02 [a.m.] we came within two one-thousandths of one percentage point of tripping into the first layer of the under frequency relays… the last safety blanket this state has between having electricity and having a total blackout for up to a month,” he said.

(credit: Texas Senate)


Texas lawmakers are holding two simultaneous hearings at the state capitol — in the House and Senate — examining the power outages from winter storms that left more than 4 million without electricity and hundreds of thousands of others without water

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On Thursday the CEO of ERCOT, Bill Magness, said he wouldn’t have done anything differently. Testifying before the Business and Commerce Committee in the Senate Thursday Magness admitted the “rolling” blackouts and complete outages didn’t benefit citizens, but said they saved the grid.

“Respectfully, I’d say it worked from keeping us (from) going into a blackout that we’d still be in today, that’s why we did it,” Magness told lawmakers. “Now it didn’t work for people’s lives, but it worked to preserve the integrity of the system.”

ERCOT officials have maintained that the largest blackout in Texas history was necessary to avert the more catastrophic failure that would have wiped out power to the majority of the state’s 30 million residents.

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On Thursday, power company executives were in hearings for 15 hours and Friday was setting a pace foe more of the same. Staff