Travis County DA opening criminal investigation into power outages

Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced his office will be conducting an investigation into the actions or inactions that led to thousands of Central Texans without power and water for days during last week’s winter weather.

"Our office will be conducting an investigation into the events that led to last week's tragedy. If there is evidence that suggests that a crime was committed, we will do everything we can to hold powerful actors, who either through their acts or failure to act, accountable," said Garza.

Garza could not name who those powerful actors could be but says the investigation will be handled by the Public Integrity and Complex Crimes Division in his office.

"Obviously, lives have been lost throughout the state, homes were lost, and it will take weeks, months, and in some cases, years for people to be made whole again. We will not forget the horror that our community experienced," said Garza.

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On Tuesday, four ERCOT board members stepped down from their positions after the state’s power grid operator took most of the heat for the large power outages.

Governor Abbott released this statement on the resignations:

"When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job, and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false. The lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations. The State of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong, and we will ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated."

"There's no love lost that we don't have these ERCOT folks there, but we need much more," said Texas US Representative Lloyd Doggett.

Rep. Doggett says the state needs to also be held accountable for last week’s power outages. "We've known for over a decade that there was a serious need to weatherize our generators for power in Texas, and Governor Abbott and before him, Governor Perry, did nothing about it."

More than four million Texans reported having no power during and after the storm. The storm also caused many water issues and claimed the lives of at least 80 people.

Rep. Doggett says this could have been preventable and now is the time to prepare so this doesn't happen again.

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