In Power Crisis, Texas Have Questions about Governor’s “Fix” for Grid

June 16, 2021

Above, Texas Governor Abbott touts the new legislation he said last week would solve Texas electric instability. Almost immediately, the state’s electric Grid manager ERCOT issued warnings to conserve power in the midst of a heat wave and unspecified mechanical failures at thermal plants, mostly fossil gas powered.

Below, report from KHOU Houston has some skepticism about the new legislation.

Below, ERCOT has been less than transparent throughout this period.

WFAA-TV Dallas/Ft Worth:

WFAA’s investigative team has received dozens of denial letters from power companies and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s power grid manager. Each object to releasing information that would give insight to the public on the reasons behind the power grid failure.

The reasons? They say releasing the information requested by WFAA and other media would reveal things like “trade secrets” or “would cause substantial competitive harm.”

“The fact that you can’t know what’s going on is problematic,” said Arif Panju, a board member of the Transparent and Accountable Government Coalition (TAG). “For people at home, they want answers. and the easiest way to get those answers is with the Public Information Act.”

The Texas Public Information Act allows the public to see what state government is up to. As long as the entity that holds the information is considered a public entity, any member of the public can request public information such as the government’s emails, budgets, audits.

But when it comes to ERCOT, the power grid manager gives conflicting legal claims:

In court documents obtained by WFAA, ERCOT claims it is a public entity and therefore, is “entitled to sovereign immunity,” meaning it has limited liability and can’t be sued for certain things.

Yet time and again, when ERCOT also receives media and public requests to release information, it claims that it is not a public entity and therefore not subject to transparency under state open records laws.

One Response to “In Power Crisis, Texas Have Questions about Governor’s “Fix” for Grid”

  1. mboli Says:

    “Conflicting” claims?
    — Not accountable through courts
    — Not accountable through records requests
    These claims qre consistent! 🙂

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