Friday, February 26, 2021

Florida Sez:

Texas sez: Hold mah beer. Abbott is desperate to change the subject, since nobody is blaming windmills anymore:

Gov. Greg Abbott was mostly silent publicly ahead of the winter storm, and his office did not warn Texans that many of them would be without electricity and water for days during subfreezing temperatures. After widespread outages, he placed the blame firmly on ERCOT and made reforming the operator an emergency item for the Legislature.

State Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, accused Abbott of ignoring the role that the PUC played in the crisis. Officials of the commission that regulates ERCOT are appointed by the governor.

“There's this very carefully curated discussion of blame by the governor that always speaks to ERCOT ... and never mentioned the Public Utility Commission,” Anchía said. “The PUC bears responsibility here as well.”

The head of the PUC, DeAnn T. Walker, appeared before lawmakers on Thursday after Magness testified for roughly five hours. She deflected much of the responsibility for the power outages to ERCOT, downplaying the PUC's authority over the operator.

Later, in the House, Anchía quizzed Walker surrounding the PUC’s authority over ERCOT, concluding that the commission did have decision-making ability over the operator.

“It seems to me, comprehensive," Anchía said.

“We told you to report to us if you thought we were unprepared because we had promised our constituents, ‘This was not going to happen again,’ and we told PUC to take care of it," he said. "And we gave you power, we gave you rule-making authority to take care of it."

Anchía said the PUC was empowered to winterize with legislation passed in 2011, after frigid temperatures caused equipment failures and blackouts. He asked if the commission ever submitted a report as was it was authorized to in the bill. Walker answered no.

State Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, the vice chair of the energy resources committee, noted that Abbott had welcomed resignations from ERCOT members. He asked Walker if the governor had asked for hers.

“He has not,” she said.

Deaths from coronavirus are an abstraction.  Comparing them to the dead from wars doesn't make these deaths more concrete.  If Abbott adds to the pile of bodies but saves his political hide, don't expect him not to pile the bodies as high as necessary to hide the truth about the winter storm of 2021.

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