The legislators representing Kerr County have demanded answers and accountability as many of their constituents continue to struggle with severe disruptions to water and electricity service.
“So many Texans across the state continue to struggle hourly with the current weather and lack of power, water, cell service, and in many cases — groceries and food supplies,” reads a Feb. 17 Facebook post by State Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction). “After an unprecedentedly challenging time period in 2020 with COVID-19 pandemic, families again are forced to make difficult decisions with only limited information. Businesses are unable to operate without reliable electricity and utilities. We all deserve answers for how we got here and how this could have been avoided.”
State Senator Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) also released a statement on the recent outages in her district, calling them an “unacceptable.”
“You deserve answers,” reads an email from Buckinghmam to constituents. “This power outage has affected Texans from all walks of life and jeopardized our well-being and livelihoods. Bottom line: it is unacceptable, and we must hold those responsible accountable.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also has demanded answers. On Feb. 16, he called on the legislature to investigate the entity in charge of managing the state’s power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” said Gov. Abbott. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable. Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions.”
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation announced a joint inquiry to examine the Texas outages and determine how they could have been prevented.
“We'll then work w/ NERC, states, & others to implement needed action items,” read the Twitter account of FERC Chairman Rich Glick on Thursday.
“Right now we must focus on restoring electricity and water to those lacking service, but soon there will be a time when a full investigation takes place and we discover what went wrong, why it went wrong, and who was responsible for this failure,” Buckingham wrote in her email. “We owe it to you. I look forward to seeing this through.”
Murr’s Facebook post states he looks forward to ensuring ERCOT is held accountable and “will join with Speaker Dade Phelan and Texas House Leadership in asking for a full hearing on these electricity blackouts as soon as possible.”
“Just like we deserve answers, our first responders across the state -- including law enforcement, fire departments, utility repairmen, and those at the Texas Department of Emergency Management and DPS -- deserve our thanks and appreciation,” Murr posted. “They have saved lives, helped friends and strangers, and continue to do so until this weather event passes.”
Buckingham expressed confidence that Texans will come through the current crises.
“Texas has faced massive disasters and adversity in the past and arose from it by banding together, helping our neighbors, and coming out of this stronger than before,” reads her email. “I have full faith that this time will be no different. May God bless each of you and may God continue to bless the great state of Texas.”