KXAN: Proposed power outage alert system aims to improve communication in future winter storms

May 10 — Texas lawmakers have spent hours discussing legislation aimed at addressing the failures of the state’s power grid, infrastructure and lack of reliable emergency communications during February’s deadly winter storm. Advocates and Texas families are urging legislators to address these issues, with less than 30 days remaining in the legislative session.




Power Magazine: ERCOT Program Cut Natural Gas Supply During Winter Storm

May 13 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the power grid for much of the state, has acknowledged it activated a program that pays large industrial power users to reduce their electricity consumption during emergencies. It’s a program similar to those used in other areas, in which factories and commercial buildings are incentivized by utilities and grid operators to cut their use of power, a situation that usually occurs during the heat of summer or cold of winter.


Houston Chronicle (Commentary): ERCOT made the February freeze fiasco worse. Texas electricity needs greater oversight.

May 12 — As journalists dig into the data–because the governments have not done it so far—we are learning how an under-funded, toothless electric grid manager likely made the February Freeze more deadly and cost Texas consumers billions of dollars in unnecessary bills.



Texas Standard: Is Renewable Energy To Blame For An April Power Crunch?

May 12 — Investigations from The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review have identified Metric Media as a network of sites masquerading as local news. Over 1,300 sites have been launched across the nation, including 74 in Texas. According to the investigations, the media company accepts payment from clients, most with a conservative viewpoint, in exchange for tailor-made news articles.




KUT: It’s Becoming Clearer Who Profited From The Blackouts, And That’s Raising Questions Of Price Gouging

May 10 — Until recently, companies that made a lot of money during the freeze have tried to keep a low profile about it. But quarterly financial reports have come due making that information harder to conceal.


Wall Street Journal: As Texas Went Dark, the State Paid Natural-Gas Companies to Go Offline

May 7 The Electric Reliability Council of Texas activated a program that pays large industrial power users to reduce their consumption during emergencies. But the grid operator, known as Ercot, didn’t know who was being paid to participate in this program and what type of facilities were getting shut off, it has since acknowledged.



KTSM: El Paso Electric expects to file rate case this year

May 7 — On Monday, the El Paso City Council will receive a presentation from the electric company about current and upcoming applications with the Public Utility Commission. The meeting starts at 9:05 a.m. and can be viewed on the city’s YouTube page.





Houston Chronicle: ERCOT Forced Dozens of Natural Gas Facilities Offline During Winter Storm

ERCOT confirmed that it forced dozens of natural gas facilities to go offline during the February winter storm under a program that pays large industrial users to shut down when electricity supplies are short. Hundreds of major electricity users, such as data centers, manufacturing plants and oil and gas facilities, have entered into “demand response” contracts with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, requiring them to install an automatic circuit switch or manually shut down operations when power demand threatens to exceed supply on the grid. Under these contracts, the state’s grid operator has the authority to interrupt power to large industrial customers when there are less than 1,750 megawatts of spare power on the grid.


Spectrum News: What should Texas do with its old wind turbine blades?

May 8 — Finding an environmentally friendly and economical way to dispose of the blades will become a growing problem. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 54,000 turbines in operation at the moment with 164,000 blades, according to Global Fiberglass Solutions. Over the next two years, an estimated 35,000 of those blades will be decommissioned and need somewhere to go.


S&P Global: Winter storm bills still pending in Texas Legislature; regulators await action

May 7 — Texas lawmakers had on May 7 more than 30 bills pending, designed to address the deadly mid-February winter storm that left about 4 million customers without electricity for various periods across four days, and state regulators are awaiting lawmakers’ decisions before advancing eight storm-related projects.