Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Under Fire For Mishandling Of Electric Grid Blackouts
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has been heavily criticized for his handling of the blackouts facing millions of Texans during this week’s unprecedented winter storm.
Texas’ Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement Monday that the governor is “playing politics with alternative sources of energy.”
“A failure to plan for this winter storm and years of deregulation of our power system has led to this moment,” Hinojosa continued. “The people responsible for this must be held accountable. Greg Abbott must be held accountable for his lack of planning.”
Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio, further blasted Abbott on Twitter.
Governor Abbott failed to prepare for this storm, was too slow to respond, and now blames everyone but himself for this mess.
He neglected the state’s antiquated and deregulated electrical grid. Now 4.4 million Texans have no power in freezing conditions. https://t.co/wWNVxPdNKl
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) February 16, 2021
Abbott will be running for reelection in 2022, but a current poll from the University of Houston places him at a dismal 39% approval rating. President Joe Biden, who lost Texas in the 2020 presidential election, had an approval rating of 41% in the same poll.
Abbott has not responded to the criticism from his colleagues, instead directing blame at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), claiming the council is responsible for the blackouts.
“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in a statement Monday. “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.”
Experts pinpoint Texas’s power grid failure as a result of the state’s unique self-contained power grid, as well as general deregulation. “Texas is pretty much an electric power island, you can’t go get more when you need it, and that’s on purpose, so Texas sets the rules for how Texas operates,” Robert Cullick, a former Austin Energy executive, told The Hill Tuesday.
“Who is responsible for ensuring that there is enough capacity to serve enough customers in the state? In the way it’s ERCOT … but not in the same way it used to be before the 1990s, where utilities could be fined for not coming through with electric power they said they were going to come through with,” Cullick continued.
Hinojosa said later in a statement, “We’ve got a state grid that collapsed as a result of the fact that the energy system in the state, the power system has been deregulated over the years, and there has not been enough money invested into the system to maintain and to improve the power plants.”