Rep. Arrington talks lessons from winter storm, criticism for ERCOT and praise for Lubbock response to COVID-19

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 5:47 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock Congressman Jodey Arrington joined calls for overhauling the state’s power grid. He told KCBD Thursday there are lessons to learn from last week’s storm. The Congressman shared his criticism for ERCOT and his praise for Lubbock’s response to COVID-19.

“It was a once-in-a-generation storm and it is rare to have the kind of weather we had for as long as we had across the entire 254 counties of Texas,” said Arrington.

Arrington said, as a state, the lesson Texans can learn after last week’s winter storm is preparedness.

“You have to have a power curtailment plan or a rolling blackout that starts early enough. And that is strategic so that you’re not redirecting power from other power generating facilities like gas plants in Midland/Odessa and other places so that you can keep as much power flowing and heat flowing to the homes of our citizens.”

Arrington also said, as a state, we need to plan for power reserves. He also prioritizes winterizing our assets, so what happened last week, won’t happen again.

“We’ve got to have a better plan. ERCOT, the independent power provider or grid operator, and the Public Utilities Commission at the state of Texas, has to have the oversight authority, and has to have the basic safeguards in place and requirements for things like winterization so that our citizens don’t suffer.”

During the interview, Arrington told us he’s proud of west Texas for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lubbock and West Texas, has done a great job. They’ve been responsible. They’ve been thoughtful. They’ve done it in a safe way, in a measured way, but they’ve leaned into reopening. They understand that we can’t just shut everything down.”

He also had high praises for West Texas schools.

“Quite frankly, I’m very proud of what the Lubbock Independent School District and school districts throughout West Texas have done to manage the risk responsibly but to do the right thing by their students and putting their students in the families of their students first.”

Arrington said Lubbock sets the “Gold Standard” for responding to disasters.

“I’m very pleased with West Texas. I think they are the gold standard for how to respond to disasters, without hiding in the basement or hunkering down, and being afraid of their shadow. They’ve been smart they’ve been thoughtful they weren’t Cavalier, they weren’t too cowboy about it, but they exercise their independence as good West Texans to do what was right by the kids, by the small businesses, by the community, and especially being sensitive to our vulnerable populations, our elderly and those who have underlying conditions, all the way around, West Texas has made me proud.”

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