AUSTIN (KXAN) — State leaders sought to reassure Texans about the stability of the power grid, as they’re preparing for an arctic front to plunge temperatures to dangerously cold levels across the state.
Gov. Greg Abbott and the heads of several agencies spoke Wednesday morning at a news conference about the state’s power supply and concerns that the frigid temperatures would lead to a repeat of what happened during the Feb. 2021 winter storm.
“The grid is ready and reliable,” Peter Lake, the chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said Wednesday. He added that he expects there will be enough power supply to meet the increase in demand Thursday through Saturday.
According to the KXAN weather team, arctic air will arrive in the northwest Hill Country between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Thursday. It races to the south, blowing into Austin between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The front will clear south of Caldwell and Fayette counties by 2 p.m.
Pablo Vegas, the president and CEO of the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), reiterated what he told that entity’s board of directors Tuesday. He said the state’s power grid manager anticipates demand to reach its peak of 70,000 megawatts on Friday morning. He added ERCOT is still forecasting the state to have approximately 85,000 megawatts of power to draw upon at that time.
When asked about the freezing temperatures possibly cutting off the fuel supply again to power plants in Texas, Abbott and the other state leaders expressed confidence that would not happen again. They said the forecast shows a lack of icy or snowy precipitation this time compared to the storm last year. They also said they expect to have adequate generation from renewable energy sources, like wind and solar.
State leaders said the roads should remain clear during this frigid weather. However, Chief Nim Kidd with the Texas Division of Emergency Management still shared a warning.
“As you heard, the grid is good, but that should not stop you from making plans to protect your home from these dangerous weather conditions and have your vehicles ready for these dangerous conditions,” Kidd said. “Any flat tire, any bad battery problems and stuck out in this dangerous cold can be life-threatening, so please make plans to protect your vehicles and your homes.”