Texas governor asks President Joe Biden for major disaster declaration for winter storm

Greg Abbott said outages have been greatly reduced, but sharply criticized ERCOT for lack of preparedness

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will seek a major disaster declaration from President Joe Biden to help homeowners who have suffered busted pipes and other property damage as a result of this week’s winter storm.

During the Thursday press conference, Abbott announced that more than two million homes had power restored since Wednesday afternoon.

However, roughly 325,000 Texans still had no electricity flowing to their homes, Abbott said. Although the mandated outages were lifted, those Texans were still out of power for repairs that needed to take place. Some of them may not see relief for days until the freezing temperatures subside.

The governor also added more emergency items for the Texas Legislature to take up. He asked lawmakers to mandate winterization for power generators and systems. He also asked for funding that would modernize Texas’ power grid.

“All of use agree on the necessity of action,” Abbott said. “Not just the action taken to restore your power but an action to ensure that you never have to endure anything like this ever again.”

During the news conference, the governor also squarely blamed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — which manages the state power grid — for the outages that left millions without power or water.

The governor mentioned ERCOT CEO Bill Magness had told the board that the grid was ready for the winter storm.

“ERCOT failed on each of these measures that they said they had undertaken,” Abbott said. “Texans deserve answers about why the shortfalls occurred, and how they’re going to be corrected, and Texans will get those answers.”

ERCOT officials had said the grid was minutes away from a “cascading, devastating blackout” that would have left people without of power indefinitely.

In San Antonio, roughly 10,000 customers remained out of power, CPS Energy officials said. They may not see their power restored until Monday.

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