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Why could the Texas power grid fail again?

Winterization rules for natural gas providers not in effect yet.

TEXAS, USA — Why could the Texas power grid fail again?

To answer that question, we have to explain what happened in the early hours of February 15, 2021. 

As temperatures across the state dropped below freezing, Texans did anything they could to stay warm. Demand for electricity spiked as power plants across the state’s isolated grid shut down, suffering from frozen equipment and a lack of natural gas.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told the state’s electricity utility companies to shut off power to customers. Despite those efforts to stabilize the grid, we came within minutes of a complete collapse which would have devastated the state for weeks.

RELATED: 4 minutes, 37 seconds: That's how close Texas came to complete grid failure

Despite warnings years before, Texas had never required power plants or natural gas facilities to winterize. In the wake of the February freeze, new legislation was passed to fix that problem. But winterization requirements for natural gas facilities will not become law until likely March 2023, after a mapping system is completed of critical natural gas facilities

In February 2022, Texas was hit by another cold front. That storm was not nearly as cold or as long as last year’s freeze. 

While ERCOT reported that the grid operated admirably during the frigid temperatures, natural gas production dropped. Platts Gas reported that natural gas producers in the Permian Basin saw production drop by 20 percent. A sign that a big freeze across the state could cause more big problems.

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