Head of Texas power agency has no idea when millions will get electricity back: 'Just depends'

Head of Texas power agency has no idea when millions will get electricity back: 'Just depends'
Bill Magness CEO of ERCOT (Screen Grab)
The head of the agency that manages power across most of Texas appears to have no idea when the four million Texans without electricity will get it back, but he says the weather should improve soon.
Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) was asked point-blank "When will the Texas power outages be over?

He could not give a straight answer.

"The number one job of everybody here at ERCOT is to get people's lights back on," Magness told WFAA's Jason Whitely Tuesday. "We're seeing demand in the winter nearly like we see at the top of the summer, when we're all using our air conditioners."

"We have seen nothing like this honestly in Texas, that has covered the state like the storm has. It increased demand to an extreme, extraordinary height, and then the storm also made it difficult for the supply to be provided," he added.

ERCOT manages about 90 percent of the Texas power grid, sending electricity to 25 million customers (one customer could be a family of four, or a business, or a single person.) In keeping with its culture of wanting to be as apart from the rest of the United States as possible, Texas has its own power grid "to avoid dealing with the feds," according to the Texas Tribune.

Right now that's a major problem.

Magness also blamed freezing wind turbines and "natural gas supplies that got tight or solar farms that really couldn't produce because of the heavy cloud cover and snow."

Parts of Texas have seen temperatures drop to below zero.

The Texas Tribune reports at least 10 deaths are linked to the Texas disaster across Houston alone.

Calling it "unacceptable," Governor Greg Abbott announced an investigation, as some wondered what preparations the state made before the storm – which was not a surprise – hit.

The AP reports millions of Texans have been without power for well over 24 hours now.

"Texas' grid operators had known" the massive storm, bringing freezing if not single-digit temperatures, and snow, was coming.

Meanwhile, Magness, the head of ERCOT, says: "I think we can see those customers getting more and more service during the course of this week, but it just depends on, you know, how the weather turns and how much of the power supply we can make sure is secure."

Here's a report from WFAA's Whitely after the interview:

ERCOT's CEO: 'We have seen nothing like this,' still cannot predict when the outages will be over www.youtube.com

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