MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar) – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick visited the Tall City on Monday to discuss issues that occurred last week during the winter storm across Texas.
Specifically, the Lt. Governor addressed issues with the power grid, high electricity bills for customers, and what happens next.
Patrick called last week’s weather a ‘perfect storm’ of factors as traditional energy sources became scarce and renewable energy sources froze, leaving millions without power and access to water.
“Look, we all have to be honest, this was the most severe storm in the history of the state,” Patrick said. “No one predicted 10 inches of snow in Del Rio or two snowfalls in San Antonio or 20 degree below with the windchill factor in parts of Texas, but we should have been in a situation no worse than rolling brownouts….I’m taking the responsibility of this fix on my shoulders.”
A complete ERCOT reform, more winterization, new pricing schedules in times of emergency or extreme weather were all on the table, according to Patrick Monday.
The Texas Senate and the House have planned hearings on what went wrong last week and why.
ERCOT and PUC leadership are among those likely to testify in front of lawmakers from both chambers next week. The Texas House State Affairs Committee and Energy Resources Committee will hold a joint hearing on Feb. 25, as will the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. The Senate Jurisprudence Committee is also lining up a hearing to review legal culpability for the long-lasting outages that began during the storm and extended for days.
The Lt. Governor also defended Texas’ independent grid but said there are changes that need to be made and he plans to work with the Senate to find solutions. One of those Senators is Kel Seliger who joined Lt. Gov. Patrick in the Tall City Monday.
“Like the Lt. Governor said, we are not sitting around here pointing fingers. We are going to have hearings and we are going to discuss this to a great extent,” Seliger said Monday. “Who wasn’t ready? Who should have taken steps after 2011 and didn’t in 2021….”
Lt. Gov. Patrick also addressed the skyrocketing bills that have been reported throughout Texas. But he says don’t panic, the Senate will find solutions.
He also reassured residents that no one’s power will be shut off as the Legislature works to drop those prices.
“We are going to make it fair and we are going to fix it,” Patrick said. “We are not going to let anyone have their power turned off because they have this big bill, we are going to figure out a way to dramatically reduce those numbers, but that’s all I can say today because we have to work through that.”