Texas electricity fiasco shows some regulation, oversight is necessary

It’s clear something went very wrong in Texas this month. Early efforts to play the blame game were off the mark, as some wanted to spread the idea the entire fiasco was the fault of wind and solar energy operations. That’s only part of the picture.

More than 4 million people ended up without power for days. Many of those people were also without water. At least 35 people are dead.

Texas, it seems, made the mistake of both bucking federal energy regulations and failing to put its own preparations in place. CenterPoint Energy told customers it could give them rolling blackouts, so there was enough energy to kick the heat on occasionally in homes; however, when residents turned on their heat against the chill, the already strained power grid failed completely. As renewable sources of energy switched off due to the increased demand, a backup of nuclear, coal, oil and gas should have kicked in. Instead, a major nuclear plant lost half its generation, and there were massive failures in coal, oil, and natural gas.

The question now is just what role CenterPoint played in misinforming customers of the power grid’s reliability.

Surely Texas lawmakers have seen enough. If they do not want to be under the thumb of the federal government in regulating and holding accountable their own energy industry, fine.

But for goodness sake that does not mean they can just let the industry run wild, without a thought for maintenance, diversification, preparation and planning that could have saved the lives of dozens of Texans, and avoided a frightening and dangerous experience for millions more.


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