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Lt. Governor Dan Patrick offers his explanation for ERCOT power grid failure

Updated: Feb. 22, 2021 at 9:40 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The first round of hearings centered on ERCOT’s colossal power grid failure are scheduled to begin in the Texas Senate this week.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick visited multiple locations across Texas to explain the process on Monday, with his final stop taking place in the Hub City.

The Lieutenant Governor says he is not interested in playing the blame game, only in getting answers for Texans.

He shared his take on the chain of events that left millions of Texans without power in a news conference on Monday afternoon.

”This was a natural disaster, and if we were to put a label on it like we do from hurricanes on winter storms, this would have been a category five winter storm,” the Lt. Governor said during a brief stop at Lubbock Aero.

Patrick said the problems started around 9 o’clock on Valentines’ night, when ERCOT anticipated receiving more power than it did.

He said first, the intense cold caused windmills across the state to freeze up. Shortly after, power went down at natural gas plants, meaning the fuel couldn’t get to the generating plants. Other equipment was also freezing up.

Patrick says the state needs to shift focus from renewable energy, like wind and solar, to “reliable” energy like gas, coal, and nuclear.

So, with all of these contributing factors mounting, ERCOT made the decision to reduce power.

“Plants could have caught fire. We would have had a total calamity and the entire grid would have gone down. To get that back up would have taken weeks, it would have taken months that 90% of Texas would have had no power,” Patrick said.

When we asked if Lubbock citizens had a right to be concerned about joining the ERCOT grid this summer, the Lt. Governor said, “I don’t want to get into your local politics.”

He said his goal with this investigation is to “fix” ERCOT because “We have to fix it.”

When asked about how much Lubbock citizens will have to pay for whatever upgrades are made in reaction to the recent grid failure, he said he didn’t know, but was hopeful the investigation would lead to more answers.

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