There were three different hearings Thursday in the Texas Legislature, regarding the power crisis during the February winter storm. New Public Utility Commission Chair Arthur D’Andrea was in front of the House State Affairs committee.
“It is a huge black eye for our agency, and I’m very sorry that we didn't do more to stop it, and I want so much to rebuild your trust in our agency and the people's trust in our agency so that we can work with you to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened, and we protect rate payers from the fallout, and we make sure this never happens again," said D'Andrea.
He promised to do better as he took questions about the disaster.
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He also fielded questions about the power grid's vulnerability to hackers.
“There is constant data being exchanged, and I just didn’t get the sense that our cybersecurity efforts were covering all those different components,” said Plano Rep. Matt Shaheen, who is on the committee.
At the House Homeland Security and Public Safety committee, the chief of the Texas Department of Emergency Management was grilled on what his team knew about power problems and how they alerted the public.
“There was no scheduled outage, and I think that is where we need to work through this, representative, is, when we were told on Saturday that the following Monday and Tuesday there may be shortages of generation, and again that’s what the organization responsible for ensuring it shared with us, all right, there may be, a few days in advance. Calls for conservation were made that day,” said Texas Department of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd.
At the Senate Business and Commerce Committee hearing, ERCOT’s Vice President of Commercial Operations was questioned about the crisis and how the costs of the disaster are being managed.
“We are looking at a lot of the financial aspects, and trying to figure out where the money went, why it went there, but also in that context what are the market mechanisms that caused the big financial catastrophe and how do we fix them,” said Dallas Senator Nathan Johnson.
On the heels of the disaster, ERCOT revealed plans to better prepare for severe weather and improve communication with its partners and the public.