We Need an Independent Investigation Now! – Sign Our Petition
In response to a disaster that killed hundreds of Texans (we still don’t know how many) and cost billions of dollars (we still don’t know how much), the Texas Legislature passed a handful of totally inadequate bills that will not assure Texans such a disaster will not occur again. Nor did the Legislature answer the question about how this occurred in the first place. It did minimal investigation, taking little input from the public, stakeholder groups, or people that might actually know something about solving the problem.
Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3, which have been heralded as addressing the causes of the grid collapse in February, are a half-baked hodge-podge that make cosmetic changes to ERCOT’s structure but otherwise kicks the problem to bureaucrats to solve without any serious guidance on how to do so. Of course, that sort of shirking of responsibility by the Legislature is precisely what led to the February crisis. The Public Utility Commission, the Texas Railroad Commission, and ERCOT already had sweeping authority to regulate their respective areas to prevent the crisis but failed to do so, notwithstanding multiple warnings over many years of the risk. Why should we think anything will be different next time?
Several bills were passed that bailed out ERCOT and other players in this debacle by imposing a new fee on the public through higher electricity rates. In other words, you now get to pay for the state’s negligence. The largest was House Bill 4492 which will create $2.5 billion in new bonds to clean up some of the mess.
The Legislature did pass House Bill 16 which prohibits electrical retail providers from selling variable rate contracts to homeowners and small businesses. That is a nice piece of consumer protection but will do nothing to keep the grid from collapsing in the future and one might wonder why it took this long for the Legislature to provide such basic consumer protection.
It has become obvious that our state leaders have no interest in getting to the bottom of what really happened in February. I suspect because they are worried what a commission might find.
It is highly unlikely that the weak soup passed during the session will do anything to protect Texans from another collapse. This is unacceptable. With at least two-hundred lives lost (and perhaps many more) and billions of dollars changing hands, Texans are entitled to an explanation about how this disaster happened and to some reasonable assurance Texas will not be caught so unprepared again.
But it is clear this will not happen without Texans demanding answers. If you agree, please sign this on-line petition calling for an independent investigation. Ask your friends and family to do so as well. Please share it with your contact list. We need a grassroots movement to send a clear message to our state leaders. We want answers. We want action – and real action, not window dressing.
Note: I want to give a couple of shout-outs. First to the Texas Tribune for their great reporting on the grid failure. The Texas Tribune is a membership supported on-line newspaper. You can join here. And second, to the SAM Party for hosting this petition.