Thousands of RGV residents still without power— experts explain why power grid couldn't handle demand

3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Thursday, February 18 2021 Feb 18, 2021 February 18, 2021 11:07 PM February 18, 2021 in News - Local

Over 20,000 customer outages are reported across the state as of Thursday night according to the AEP Texas Outage Map.

While the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced the end of rolling blackouts across the state Thursday morning, thousands are still cold and in the dark in the Rio Grande Valley.

READ ALSO: Residents struggle to stay warm as crews work to restore power across the RGV

Energy experts say these conditions are a consequence of a private business model. Experts say in order to save money the industry was unprepared for the severe winter pattern.

"Energy follows a business model," Former Dean for Business, Public Safety and Technology at South Texas College Dr. Mario Reyna said. "There's only enough capacity for what we consume. Would you build additional power plants for days like this? For two or three days?" 

Reyna said there isn't a financial incentive for a business to prepare for an outlying scenario, being that the costs could outweigh the benefits. 

But in a press conference Thursday ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said that if the corporation had not taken action and shut off power, blackouts could have been experienced for months. 

READ ALSO: Abbott calls for ERCOT leaders to resign— energy experts weigh in on Texas energy crisis

Other energy experts say the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the manufacturing and sales of many important parts to the electrical grid from other areas around the world.  

Director of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UTRGV Dr. Alex Domijan said trade embargoes with countries like China, also played a part in slowing down how parts like transformers were obtained.

Ultimately, Domjian said this sort of weather condition is the result of climate change. A decade ago energy operators warned that Texas was not ready for a severe winter storm, caused by climate change but equipment was not brought up to standard. 

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