SAN ANTONIO – As the anniversary of the February freeze and associated chaos with the power grid approaches, CPS Energy’s interim president and CEO says the utility is prepared.
“I know that our community is, you know, has a certain amount of post-traumatic stress over the winter event, especially for those that were out, you know, for multiple days,” Rudy Garza said on Wednesday. “For that, I would say that we have done everything in our power, and within our capability, and an understanding of our operation to ensure that we’re ready for this winter season, and we are.”
The temperatures that froze Texas in February 2021 caused power plants across the state to go offline, just when they were needed most. The resulting imbalance between supply and demand threw the state’s power grid into chaos for several days.
In the wake of that, CPS Energy says it has spent $2 million on preparing its power plants -- built to operate in Texas summers -- to hold up and keep operating in the freezing cold, too.
The money has gone toward precautionary measures like radiant heating for pipes, insulation, temporary enclosures, and heaters, which will stay up at CPS Energy’s facilities through the cold months.
“I think we’ve put the work in that we need to do and we’re prepared,” said Executive Vice-President of Energy Supply Benny Ethridge.
Garza says the utility expects it will need to spend another $150 million to $200 million on additional state weatherization requirements over the next five years.
The utility included weatherization costs in its case for a rate increase. It plans to return in two years for another rate hike, at which point Garza said they should have a better idea of how much it will cost.