By Jack Fink

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A new federal report finds the electric power and natural gas sectors in Texas remain vulnerable to extreme winter weather.

The conclusion is from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation or NERC and its 2021-2022 Winter Reliability Assessment.

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The agency conducted a risk assessment for this winter involving ERCOT, which operates most of the electric grid in Texas.

Joshua Rhodes with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas reviewed the report for CBS-11.

He said in a worst-case scenario, the agency found there would be power outages again this winter in Texas. “The extreme scenario that they ran.. based on the scenario that we went through in February did show us short, something like 37%, in terms of being able to match supply and demand, which is roughly about where we were in February, and so that would probably mean more blackouts.”

During February’s storms, millions of Texans were left in the dark and the state said 210 residents lost their lives.

Rhodes though said Thursday the good news is that the probability of having another severe winter weather event like last February is very low.

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Since then, the state has identified key natural gas facilities to make sure they don’t lose electric power and their ability to supply power plants with the fuel as some did last winter.

But Rhodes said there are still concerns. “If we are not able to, you know, get natural gas to the 50% of power plants in their region that consumed natural gas, if we have constraints like that, again, that we could find ourselves short.”

A new state law now requires electric power generators to winterize their facilities for this winter.

Rhodes said companies will be held accountable. “The state’s moving in the right direction. Those power plants that had a failure, the new regulations in Texas require the CEO of the company to sign off to say that they have fixed that particular failure. So there will be an actual name associated with this thing broke, and now it has been fixed.”

Energy experts say while the state has taken action, it will take more than just one year to ensure ERCOT is more resilient to severe winter weather.

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