Excellent article in the Texas Tribune about the failure of the Texas Legislature and regulators to require natural gas companies to winterize in the wake of February’s winter storm blackout. The Public Utility Commission did finally act to require utilities to use “best efforts” to winterize their plants, but the Railroad Commission has so far done nothing to force gas infrastructure companies to winterize.
A joint report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that “87 percent of unplanned generation outages due to fuel issues were related to natural gas, predominantly related to production and processing issues, while 13 percent involved issues with other fuels such as coal or fuel oil.”
According to Doug Lewin, and Austin-based energy consultant, Texas has done “next to nothing” to weatherize its natural gas supply. “We don’t have a regulatory system in place that holds the industry accountable. That is the problem,” Lewin said. “It’s not a technology or engineering problem. It’s a regulatory problem.”