HOUSTON - As frigid weather descended on the Lone Star State, Governor Greg Abbott addressed a noon-time crowd in North Texas Thursday, where temperatures outside had plummeted into the high twenties.
Over the course of 30 minutes Abbott spoke on more than a dozen legislative topics, but never once mentioned the most-costly natural disaster in Texas history or the measures taken since to keep the fragile power grid from faltering in the future.
Asked about readiness afterward, the Governor offered this response.
"The state's special operations center is already up and running 24-7 monitoring exactly what's going on in every region, responding as each region needs it," said Abbott
Even with the lion-share of power generators having complied with new weatherization guidelines and the incoming cold front considered far less severe than last February's devastating winter storm, State Senator John Whitmire believes Texans have good reason to remain on guard.
"I don't think we're ready, in fact, I know we are not ready. To say that things are rosy I think is wrong. At best, you could say you are guardedly optimistic that this freeze will be manageable, but going forward I think people have the right to be anxious," said the Houston Democrat adding, "We are not ready for a freeze comparable to what we had last winter and I think the evidence will demonstrate that. I just hope we don't have to learn that the hard way."
Former Assistant U.S. Energy Secretary and UH Professor Charles McConnell says regardless of recent reform the Texas grid remains vulnerable because the state has to yet invest in sufficient reliable, back-up generation
"That's the necessary lottery ticket we need to purchase and if we do that, we will not only hope to win the lottery, but I think from a reliability standpoint we surely will," said McConnell, Director of UH's Center for Carbon Management and Sustainability.
As the cold front moved through Texas Thursday ERCOT reported "normal conditions" with 5700 megawatts of the operating reserve as of 5:40 p.m.