Tag Archives: ERCOT

Why must we worry about our grid? Ridiculous!

Texans everywhere are bracing for a serious winter blast set to hammer us later this week.

And as we get ready for it, we are asking ourselves and each other: Do you think our electrical grid will hold up to the demand for energy? That is an absurd question in this state, arguably the energy capital of the world.

However, here we are. From here in Princeton to Pampa, from Presidio to Palestine we are wondering about the Electric Reliability Council of Texas ability to manage the state’s electric-generation capacity.

Why worry about ERCOT? Why, hell. It was just less than two years ago when ERCOT failed us. We lost power. We lost water generation. Hundreds of Texans froze to death.

ERCOT says the grid will hold up. So do our politicians, led by newly re-elected Gov. Greg Abbott. They tell us the state has plenty of energy to withstand this brief, but intensely bitter cold blast coming in the next few hours.

Pardon me for doubting the assurances. I remember the misery we endured. It was too brief of a time ago. That shouldn’t have occurred … but it damn sure did!

We’re taking measures in our house to prepare for the worst. I just hope our neighbors are, too. If enough of them prep for the deep freeze, then we’ll be all right.

Why must it come to this?


Lt. Gov. proposes mainstream agenda … who knew?

Hardly ever do I have a good word to say about Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but today I am going to veer into virtually unknown territory.

I want to offer a word of cautious praise for the agenda he is proposing for the Texas Senate as it prepares for the start of the next Legislature which opens for business in early January.

Patrick is pitching several key issues as his top priority items.

They are: fixing the electrical grid; reducing property taxes; and shoring up our border security.

None of that sounds particularly alarming to me. Nor should it to anyone else. There might be a socially conservative issue or two hidden in Patrick’s sleeve. You might recall how he sought to impose the “bathroom bill” on Texans in the 2017 Legislature. That was the bill that sought to require transgender Texans to use the public bathroom that coincided with their “gender at birth.” That attempt at homophobic legislation died in the House, thanks to the will of then-Speaker Joe Straus, another Republican legislator.

I don’t want Patrick to try more of that kind of funny business the 2023 legislative session.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick lays out 2023 legislative priorities | The Texas Tribune

The electrical grid needs repair, even though Gov. Greg Abbott and Patrick said it had been fixed after the disaster that came to the state in February 2021, when hundreds of Texans froze to death.

As for property tax relief, I am unsure what kind of authority the state has over a matter that is decided by county commissioners’ courts, school boards, city councils and assorted other local governing bodies. However, as a taxpaying Texas resident of long standing, I welcome the effort.

Patrick cruised to re-election this year and is likely filled with plenty of political capital as he prepares the Senate — over which he presides — for the work that lies ahead.

I wish him — and the Senate — well as they get busy. I just want to offer a word of caution to the occasionally fiery and abrasive lieutenant governor: Keep your eye on the ball and let’s not try to legislate our moral behavior.


‘Three men’ ad sticks like glue

The ad is labeled simply “three men,” and focuses on three Texas politicians, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton. They’re all Republicans.

It is paid for by a PAC called Coulda Been Worse LLC, referencing the Uvalde school massacre in May that killed 19 children and two teachers.

What is most fascinating is the emphasis on the “men” aspect of the ad. It seems to dovetail off another TV spot that discusses how these “three men” forced the Legislature to ban abortion in all cases, except for the health of the mother. No exception for rape or incest. The “three men” made it happen.

Now we see that theme being carried over to the issue of the electrical grid, which Coulda Been Worse LLC notes still hasn’t been fixed.

I happen to like the ad. No surprise, given that I oppose the re-election of all three of the principals mentioned.

My request to Coulda Been Worse LLC? Keep ’em coming.


Fix the damn grid!

Hey, didn’t Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promise to fix the electrical grid after it nearly failed during the February 2021 deep freeze that killed all those Texans?

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas wasn’t very “reliable” then. Abbott made the grand promise to ensure the grid wouldn’t fail.

Well, that was then.

Now we keep getting these advisories from ERCOT asking us to turn the air conditioners up to 78 or80 degrees … even though the summer heat is cooking us crispy. The temp hit 107 degrees today in our North Texas home in Princeton. There is no long-term relief in sight!

Now comes the question: When will we get the grid fixed to avoid the potential for electrical failure … Gov. Abbott?

We do not yet have a totally “reliable” electrical grid in Texas. It came close to collapsing nearly two years ago during the Texas deep freeze. Now we are getting warnings of potential failure as temperatures set records for summer heat.

We all should stand up and take a bow, though, by saving ERCOT from dealing with demand eclipsing the supply of electricity. ERCOT’s initial hot-weather conservation request helped the grid managers from having to implement rolling blackouts to conserve energy; the success came because Texans responded by shutting down non-essential use of electricity. Good job, y’all!

Back to the point …

Greg Abbott told us when we came out of that February 2021 deep freeze that he would ensure the grid is fixed, that ERCOT would live up to its “reliability” promise.

I am not yet convinced that the governor has kept that promise.


Power keeps me on edge

So … the power blinked off for a few minutes today in our North Texas community. The outage appeared to be widespread.

Then it came back on for a couple of seconds, then it went dark again.

It stayed dark for, oh, about 15 more minutes. It’s back on at this moment.

Truth is, though, I am getting the heebie-jeebies over the status of our electrical system. It’s not supposed to be this squirrely. I mean, we live in the energy capital of the universe. We’re supposed to be the highest of the high-tech regions anywhere on Earth.

Memories of the Winter of 2021 are too fresh in our minds. The power went out for several days during the killer freeze this past February.

I get that we cannot control every single aspect of our lives, given our reliance on technology that, after all, is developed by fellow fallible human beings.

Still, this brief power failure makes me nervous as all get-out.

Oh, I should add that the weather today is spectacularly gorgeous.

I am going to hope for the best.


Well, we got through it

Update time on our storm preparation and whether it worked for us: Yes. It did work for my wife and me. Good thing, too, because the lights went out during the night for several hours.

North and West Texas are enduring a serious winter blast as I write this brief post. Our North Texas home went dark last night around 10:30. The lights flickered back on around midnight for about two or three minutes, then they went out again; they stayed out for about four hours.

I won’t blame Gov. Greg Abbott for what happened. Yes, he did promise “the lights will stay on.” He was talking about power supply and indicated there would be a minimum of what he called “load shed” events with the utility grid shutting down to reduce demand on electrical power.

Gov. Abbott couldn’t prevent iced-over tree limbs from falling on power lines, which is what happened in areas around Collin County during the night. As for our neighborhood, I believe a transformer shorted out.

Hey, no sweat. The heroes who comprise our utility crews worked hard in horrible weather to restore the power.

Believe me when I say that all of us around here are a bit nervous given what happened to Texas a year ago when the power grid failed and put millions of us in the dark for far longer than we should have been.

We don’t know what the immediate future — meaning tonight and perhaps the next time — will hold in store. We do know that we plan to stay ready for whatever happens.


Getting ready for worst

As I write this blog post, I am sitting in my North Texas home prepared for the worst from the latest winter storm to roll in over us.

To be clear, it’s not that I expect the worst. It’s just that after what we endured a year ago when millions of Texans froze in the dark during zero-degree winter blasts, no one I am aware of is taking any chances this year.

A member of our family told us this morning she ventured to the grocery store to buy some food and found the shelves “terribly picked over.” Seems that others in her neighborhood had the same thought. Oh, by the way, she said she and her family are well-stocked and ready for what is coming.

The Texas Tribune reports: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the grid, issued a winter storm watch through Sunday, saying it expects high energy demand through the duration of the cold front. But even with sleet, snow and ice predicted for a large swath of the state, ERCOT says it has sufficient power generation to meet the anticipated demand.

What a Texas winter storm means for the power grid | The Texas Tribune

The weather forecasters and the TV news presenters over the past couple of days have spoken to viewers with a twinge of frantic urgency in their voices. The blast that is rolling in isn’t as dramatic as what we endured a year ago, but our experience from February 2021 is too fresh in our memories for us to take it too lightly.

My wife has sheltered some of her treasured plants around the front of our house; she has filled several containers with fresh water; we’ve secured some candles; oh, and Toby the Puppy is going nowhere outside unless he insists that he has to relieve himself (he’ll let us know).

We didn’t suffer nearly the misery that many other Texans endured a year ago. Our lights were out for a few hours; we lost water for a little more than a day. Yes, there were those who suffered through several dark and waterless days in 2021. Still, we are prepared for the worst of this next winter blast.

We are going to hope for the best. We might even offer a prayer.


Storm makes me nervous

I cannot possibly be the only Texas resident who is suffering the nervous jerks as we await the arrival of this winter storm.

We went through a damn rough period just about a year ago in these parts when the electrical power grid failed. We lost our water supply for a time, too. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the managers of our grid, came under intense criticism over the power failure; so did the Public Utility Commission of Texas. ERCOT’s management team quit or was fired, along with the entire PUC.

Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to fix the grid. I am not sure it’s been fixed. Neither is anyone else. Abbott said a few weeks ago that “I guarantee the lights will stay on” this winter. Just this week, he walked back that bold assertion; now he said there is no guarantee possible.

So, yes, I am nervous about the storm that is sweeping into Texas this week. The weather forecasters tell us it won’t be as nasty and as severe as it was this past winter.

I do hope they’re right.


Hold it together, ERCOT

It has gotten cold in North Texas, which by itself is no great shakes, except that our memories are fresh from what happened a year ago when the mercury fell to, um, really hideous levels.

The electrical grid failed. So did our water supply.

We aren’t nearly as cold in this third week of January 2022 as we were in the middle of February 2021, so I am not sitting on pins and needles … just yet.

Gov. Greg Abbott has promised that the lights will “stay on” this winter. So has the head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Ditto for the folks who run the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that manages our state’s power grid.

All I can say at this moment is: It had better hold up! Or else!

I don’t what the “or else” would produce. I just know that we’re still less than halfway through the winter season. Last year was a serious downer. None of us wants a repeat of the disaster that befell the state.

The pols who are responsible for ensuring we stay warm and watered don’t want it, either.


Nervous about the chill

This past winter’s big freeze and the misery it created has inflicted me with the nervous jerks as we prepare for this winter’s first big chill.

The temperature in North Texas is going to dip tonight into the low 20s, with wind chills registering in the low to mid-teens. There once was a time when I didn’t worry too much about whether the electricity and the water would hold up.

The disaster brought by the February 2021 freeze has disabused me of the complacency. We’re taking extra steps tonight to ensure we don’t lose water if the power goes out.

We likely should have been prepared better this past winter. We weren’t, I am ashamed to acknowledge. This year it’s different.

We also have that issue dealing with whether our electrical grid will hold up if Mother Nature returns another killer blast this winter. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the managers of our electrical grid, assure us — along with Gov. Greg Abbott — that our grid will hold up. ERCOT says we won’t suffer the misery we endured nearly a year ago.

ERCOT and Abbott had better be right on this one.

We aren’t going to place all our faith in their promises, though. We’ll hunker down and be ready for the worst if it comes.