ERCOT CEO: 'Catastrophic Blackout' Would Have Hit Texas Without Outages

The logo of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is seen at its headquarters

Texas' grid operators said Friday that the state's electrical system returned to normal for the first time since a storm knocked out power to more than 4 million customers.

Adding to the state's misery, the weather jeopardised drinking water systems.

Rural hospitals across Texas were not only trying to treat patients under tough conditions, but also serving as de facto "warming centers" for the healthy, said John Henderson, president of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.

Almost seven million Texans were being advised to boil their water before drinking it or using it for cooking, Toby Baker, who heads the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Wednesday, adding that almost 264,000 people were impacted by non-operational water systems.

Cruz came under attack for traveling to Mexico while his constituents suffered without power, heat and running water.

Water pressure dropped after lines froze and because many people left faucets dripping to prevent pipes from icing, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Biden spoke to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday night, releasing a photo of the president on the phone afterward.

Federal emergency agencies reportedly had sent power generators to bolster water treatment plants, hospitals and nursing homes. "Who knows when we'll get plumbing back?"

Compounding the problem was the fact that much of Texas was still experiencing cold weather and snowstorms Thursday, part of a havoc-inducing bout of winter weather that also prompted winter storm warnings in parts of New York, New Jersey and CT through Friday night. That was down from 3 million two days ago.

About 325,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas yesterday, down from about three million a day earlier, though utility officials said limited rolling blackouts are still possible.


A shopper at an H-E-B Plus! supermarket faces empty shelves in the Flour Bluff neighborhood of Corpus Christi, Texas, Feb. 18, 2021.

Federal Emergency Management Agency acting administrator Bob Fenton said Friday that teams were in Texas with fuel, water, blankets and other supplies.

Biden also tweeted about the storm's impact.

The memo ended by stating the Biden administration is ready should Texas or any other regions impacted by the winter weather need additional federal disaster support.

The NWS said the storm would bring ice, sleet and heavy snow to parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and MS as it tracks to the northeast, causing power outages, tree damage and making driving hazardous.

In Texas, an Abilene man died in his bed in a house that was the same temperature as outside.

The power situation gradually improved in Texas throughout the week, but the winter weather didn't let up, and some problems related to the emergency persisted.

Smaller outages remained, but Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the grid now has enough capacity to provide power throughout the entire system.

With electricity now restored to most households, the Republican governor said at a press conference that he was informed by ERCOT five days before the storm hit that the state's electrical grid was prepared to weather the blast.

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