It’s the chicken or the egg question of the year in Texas. Gas or electricity? Which one was first to trigger more widespread power outages across the state during the February winter storm?
Electric companies said they couldn’t produce enough power because they couldn’t get enough gas to keep power plants running. Gas companies said they couldn’t produce more gas because they couldn’t get enough power to keep wells and pipelines running.
NBC 5 Investigates has examined hundreds of pages of industry records and talked to experts on both sides of the fence and it seems clear both share responsibility for what happened. The question now is how much both sides will share in the solutions?
Watch “POWERLESS” episode #6 now, streaming on Apple TV and Roku!
Within days of the storm, the chairman of the state agency that regulates oil and gas were quick to say her industry was not to blame. And the industry’s biggest lobbying group is resistant to rules that would require widespread winter weather protection for most gas wells.
Some gas companies made millions or even billions in profits selling short supplies of gas during the winter storm. So how much incentive does the gas industry have to better protect equipment from the cold?
Meanwhile, a new state committee that’s supposed to sort out which parts of the gas system really connect to the electric system is meeting in secret, leaving some observers to wonder if industry insiders will be able to manipulate the process and avoid stiffer regulations, in a state where oil and gas is king. NBC 5 Investigates in the latest installment of our digital series “Powerless.”
Digital Series: Powerless
Other Reports From NBC 5 Investigates
- ERCOT Releases New ‘Roadmap' for Power Grid Success (July 14)
- ERCOT Vows to Investigate Early Summer Power Plant Breakdowns (June 15)
- What Texas Lawmakers Did (And Did Not Do) to Address the Power Crisis (June 1)
- Texas at ‘Elevated Risk' of Summer Power Shortages, Potential Outages, Regulators Warn (May 27)
- NBC 5 Investigates: How Texas Wind Power Could Work Better in Cold Weather (May 20)
- NBC 5 Investigates How Colder States Avoid Winter Blackouts (May 12)
- NBC 5 Investigates Which Power Plants Left Texans Powerless in February (April 29)
- ERCOT Had Concerns About Power Supplies Before Tuesday's Conservation Alert (April 15)
- Texas Power Conservation Alert Raises Alarm Across Texas (April 14)
- NBC 5 Investigates: U.S. Senate Probes Texas Power Outages (March 12)
- Texas Speaker Unveils Plan to Prevent Repeat of State's Energy Crisis (March 9)
- Many Power Plants Didn't Meet Winter Recommendations in Past Seasons (March 5)
- Lawmakers Grill ERCOT CEO on First Day of Power Crisis Hearings (Feb. 26)
- ERCOT: Texas Was 4 Minutes and 37 Seconds Away From a Blackout That Could Have Lasted Months (Feb. 25)
- Abbott Calls for Laws to Prevent Power Crisis Repeat (Feb. 25)
- ERCOT Messages Reveal Actions Prior to Massive Power Outage (Feb. 20)
- Customers Say Oncor's ‘Rolling Outage' Message Left Them Confused, Angry (Feb. 19)
- ERCOT CEO Defends Actions Leading Up to Winter Storm, Record Outages (Feb. 19)
- Federal Regulators Plan to Investigate Massive Texas Power Outage (Feb. 18)
- ERCOT Didn't Conduct On-Site Inspections of Power Plants to Verify Winter Preparedness (Feb. 18)
- What Happened to ‘the Energy Capital of the World' During This Winter Event? (Feb. 16)
- Power Outages and Texas Electric Emergency Explained (Feb. 15)