“The end result,” Gov. Greg Abbott said this month, “is that all that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”
Six days later, an emergency on the grid was declared when the generators were down for maintenance. We also learned that a small fire had broken out at the Glen Rose nuclear power plant. That’s why, for the second time this spring (not even summer!), We were told to keep.
What a humiliation for Abbott.
The main worry of the watchdog: it is the heatwave in August. The air conditioners are running at full speed. The overloads of our Lone Star electrical network. Homes and businesses are losing electricity. Indoor temperatures are rising rapidly. The suffering begins again. Maybe the Texans are dying.
Yes, I own a small generator, but all I can find is this: instead of cooking like roast chicken inside, our family gets into our air-conditioned car. But we’re not going anywhere. This is the miracle of Texas.
The Watchdog has a few suggestions you can follow to nudge our so-called “leaders” to lead instead of hauling buckets of campaign donations from the oil and gas industry.
More on my new ideas in a moment.
Incompetence, a job of snow and jargon
First of all, I want to quickly recall what we have seen since the February freeze.
After more than a decade of ignoring the major flaws in our electrical system from A to Z, everything has caught up with us.
The public (public) service commissioners demonstrated such blatant incompetence that they were dumped.
We were concerned that state lawmakers would take a job out of the snow and fail in their duty to fix problems now rather than later. That’s what happened.
Meanwhile, ERCOT, the grid manager with a history of unreliability, spoke to us in jargon so we couldn’t figure it out.
Lawmakers have engaged in a massive cover-up with their refusal to appoint an independent commission to study the freeze.
They ended the 2021 regular session by adopting a massive bailout to borrow billions of dollars in bonds that will add dollars to your monthly electric bill for decades to come.
Oh, and a last minute decision by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to give Texans $ 350 credit on our bills failed.
Yes, lawmakers have changed the system with a variety of new laws, including the weatherization of some facilities (but not immediately), rules governing progressive outages, increased fines for unprepared utilities, increased number of members (p) UC, a statewide alert system to map critical customers who cannot lose power.
But lawmakers barely pushed the bear. They did not attack the natural gas industry for its failures. How could they? The oil and gas industry, as always, is the most powerful lobbying force under the dome.
Republicans believe in limited government, as shown here. However, they don’t believe in the campaign’s limited donations.
An analysis of Texas Tribune donations found that Abbott had received at least $ 27 million from the oil and gas lobby over the past two decades. He sold his soul.
When the oil and gas folks want a meeting, they probably get it.
Me, without a derrick or in my name? I can’t get Abbott to answer the most basic questions.
The other day I wrote to his press assistant the following:
“Does he still believe that everything that needs to be done has been done?” Or is he ready to come back and do more for the Texans to fix these obvious issues? Does he plan to include electricity on the agenda of an extraordinary session? “
No answer. What to say when all that needed to be done has been done?
“Help this snafu”
On Twitter, Sandra Ray asked The Watchdog, “What the hell else can people do to help with this snafu?
I promised a new strategy. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when the wheel is already there.
I have compiled a list of the four main groups of citizen activists who are dedicated to pushing lawmakers and the governor to act on our behalf on electricity issues. I will introduce you to each of them. You decide if you want to follow them, join them, donate or volunteer. I donate their websites, but most have social media accounts as well.
You probably haven’t heard of Commission Shift. He is only a few months old. Its aim is to force the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, to change its perspective and be more transparent in its decision-making.
The group intends to make the ultra-powerful TRRC known to the general public. An ongoing project examines conflicts of interest of elected commissioners. “They’re all really related to oil and gas,” spokesman Oliver Bernstein said. “And they are not very welcoming in dealing with the public.”
Supporters include people interested in climate, energy and good governance.
I asked for comments from the railway commission and received a 200 word statement which did not mention the new group of citizens but praised the improvements made to make the activities of the commission more accessible to the public.
(I would have said, “We welcome the eyes of Texans to watch what we do, and we look forward to working together to improve the lives of all Texans.”)
Texans for fair energy billing
Texans for Fair Energy Billing is also only a few months old. He promises to “defend the voices of Texans affected by state neglect through a new social media storytelling campaign.”
Supporters include some retail electricity providers and businesses affected by high energy bills.
“There is so much more work to be done to protect taxpayers, taxpayers and voters in Texas,” the group announces.
Spokesman Talan Tyminsky said of Abbott: “He claims the mission is done before it is actually done.”
Unlike newbies, Public Citizen has been around Austin for almost 40 years. The group focuses on many issues and is well respected in the legislature. He closely follows the legislation.
One area of interest to him is the weatherization of residential homes, said spokesperson Adrien Shelley. The group also monitors policy development across state government and notifies supporters when relevant events such as hearings are coming up.
Progress Texas has pushed hard against the Republican leadership. “The legislature has not addressed any of the underlying issues,” spokesman Glenn Smith said.
“The way the system is set up is that they take the production plants offline and the supply drops. When the supply goes down, the price goes up. Producers are therefore encouraged to run out of supplies because they earn far more money. “
A statement released by the group last week commented, “If you’re sitting at home hot and angry with our state’s failing electricity grid, you know who to blame.
Contact the governor
Contact Governor Abbott and ask him to put grid improvements on his agenda for a special session of the legislature.
Mail: PO Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711-2428.
His website – gov.texas.gov/contact – provides links to the governor’s social media accounts.
Tell him the watchdog is saying hello.
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