CEO of Texas power company responds to governor’s call to resign amid blackouts

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness explains how millions in Texas are in the dark due to power grid outages.
11:31 | 02/17/21

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Transcript for CEO of Texas power company responds to governor’s call to resign amid blackouts
How did Texas get to this point for more on that. Let's bring in someone who knows as CEO of the electric reliability council of Texas that air cut which operates the State's electricity grid bill madness. Good afternoon bill thanks for joining us. Good afternoon picture of me. So I know you're very busy and and you've taken time out of it we're just looking at looks like about three million Texas homes are without power right now is part of a rolling blackouts to reduce stress on the system. How this is happening in the 21 century in America and win is power going to be fully restored. Well we're working 24 hours a day ever since Sunday night to get power restored Texans and I think now we we recently. Added more. Her ability to serve Texans I think the amount of rotating allergies right now are half what they weren't there are people. But that's not enough obviously we've got to keep that moving down as fast as we can because our only priority right now is getting. Power to the folks in Texas. As UV as you said I mean we along with you anywhere else in Texas grieved the losses the tragedies that have occurred in these last few days. And it it demonstrates the essential nature of power took to people's lives. Our John wanted Jim to bring down two votes. How does happen. Did the nature of electricity. Is such that you have to keep the supply of electricity and the demand for electricity in ballots. All the time if you don't if they get very far out of balance you can have catastrophic. Blackouts that are not like what we're seeing today these are very big problems in Texas right now at the catastrophic blacked out. Jack be fixed by a grid operator like her. It's lots of equipment is destroyed they can last for months and months and there would be no power. In areas like Dallas. While that blackout occurred so in order to prevent those. Winner congress grid operator seized. The supply of power that is good new generation from whether it's wind power solar or whatever it is. If that gets enough out of balance with the demand on the system. Then we have to take some demand off the system and sadly unfortunately that's what we had to do Sunday. The causes. B storm that came to Texas in your describing moving through the country. Let's taking the power system in dangerous directions. The demand for services were higher than they've ever been in Texas by far. For a winter. Yeah we usually have our highest commands and summer winter conditions were running and we were having. Amount of power usage which rivaling that this storm blew through. And it does so that the amount of the demand is going way up higher than anything we've seen in the winter season by far. Dennis supplies going down. Because that is that the storm blew through it I stepped wind turbines for example it caused outages at some of the facilities that make power. So that the ability to provide. The supply. Was compromised by the same storm that was driving up the demand. And so our grid operators here. Are sort of that that we're sort of the traffic cops we don't we don't own generation we don't own transmission lines that. Well our job is to prevent this catastrophic black house. One of the ways we do that is how rotating outages or outages that we can control and so did win beat demand and supply get back in balance efficiently. Those outages command. And when we get enough generation back on the system enough supply to meet this demand. We're going to be in a place where we were last week or the week before Rick electric power system where you know things work more smoothly. So this really was the historic nature and the extraordinary extreme nature of this storm that drove both the problems that. Let us to have to have so many outages and unfortunately they've lasted much longer. That anyone would want and we're working around the clock to get those. Generating hand plants the power plants to. Enough of them to get back online from the damages they suffered with the storm. To you either know the system and let everyone get to power again. So bill and this storm was an unexpected though so why didn't have such a dramatic impact and why is Texas faring so much worse than other surrounding states. The storm would certainly expected I mean we there were forecasts it was anticipated. And I think the via. The challenge was to be demand was so high. And the supply. Was not able to meet it and of the reason for that was really. Normally in Texas I'd say it's especially through the hot Summers and other seasons. The supply sufficient to meet the highest demand we've ever seen on the system even even higher than we're seeing now sometimes in the summer. The problem was the storm was causing. A lot of those plants is power plants that were needed desperately to serve that demand. 22 triple off to have mechanical problems or freezing that they couldn't control so be beat. Supply I'd it was anticipated to be here for no that really tough time during the storm. Was not able to operate and it's still you know getting itself fixed and back on the system so it can serve customers. And Texas governor Greg Abbott has put the blame for these outages squarely on. On you guys you're a Nazi right now obviously so let's take a listen for a moment to what he told our affiliate KP RK this morning. And so are costing us for electric. Reliability. Council of Texas and they showed that they were not reliable these experts these are engineers. In in the power industry. These are bureaucrats who would of the case may be these are specialists. And government has rely upon the specialist. To be able to deliver in these types of situations. So he went on live call for your resignation your resignation America leaders elected get your response to that and also your response to add to what people are saying that maybe Texas is to deregulated that. That other states operate. Natural gas and wind in cold weather and they outfit them by regulation so that they can survive that first Abbott's second. Maybe guys are doing it wrong. Did. First you know as I was saying to focus the total focus of our team now for me to our grid operators everywhere else is to get the power back on. There's going to be a lot of investigation and analysis of this event which obviously had huge impacts on taxes. And it he needs to be looked all of the decisions we made need to be looked at and I welcome that and I. One of the things that you know. We just have to end in sight right now is until that powers all back on we've got to keep our people focus on making that happen so Texans and their households can have the power again. And yesterday unit that would there may be decisions about you know. Meal or other folks that are or whatever it is that we welcomed the chance to you know be accountable for this but the one thing I will say. Is that that the grid operators the folks who were responsible 24 hours day seven days a week. From keeping these catastrophic major blackouts from happening. Saw conditions Sunday night. That they really didn't have any other good choice but to have these rotating outages and now they blasted a lot longer than rotating outages. But I feel like if we had not taken the actions we did to begin those outages. We could have seen the whole system down there with no prospect of coming back in the next few days which is certainly what we're seeing now because the outages we have in place a more control. Selects. Focus on that get Texans. Your Turkey dinner light back and I certainly think will now. And invest it all the other issues I guess you let the second was about deregulation. If it. It was just a just the notion that Texas does it has not required. The power system to be sufficiently. Safe from called what other states right around you guys get plenty of cold and their wind turbines and natural gas. The facilities are still working just fine. I welcome their. What issue is that. In Texas the system is designed for heat. In the north the system is designed. Or you know colder. He blows he demands on the system. So if we constructed some of our power plants a way that they're constructed you know in more northern colder places. They would have difficulty maintaining their integrity in the summer when there's so much heat being generated in this case so. It is true that there are certain plants are you know built for that environment. Just deserve they're built in the north for environment where you see frequent cold. There's certainly. Plants that have protections they know cold weather's going to come but there is a difference between how. You know the power systems constructed in in warmer over plates that said. You know her Condit sort of that the traffic cop. Managing how power close our system. We're not. That the policy maker. And we're not the regulator. So. If they're good the idea is after we review this that is everyone does regulators industry Kirk out everywhere else that. There need to be changes in that arena absolutely I think that's what policymakers lesbian positions dealing and we're happy to help that we can't. And bill the governors also pointing to those frozen wind turbines and solar panels and saying that. Green energy is responsible for the power failures what's your take on that. I mean certainly there were the governor's right there were certainly failures. Solar and when generation facilities. I think you know what what we saw this week. Was that the storm was central cause. That the true power out because we did she outages from other kinds of generation from coal. From natural gas as well as when in the soul. So you know I think what this storm does is exposed the vulnerabilities perhaps of all different kinds. How are making generation on the system. And it's something that obviously the industry you'll be period your suit and looking back debt and seeing. What are we got a due to you have to keep this from happening because certainly. No one wants the kind of you know Cubans struggle that we had to see over the past few days for fellow Texans. But no one who's making power or. No monitoring managing the power system has any interest in doing that either our job every day is to get people are electricity. And events like this we have to protect from the absolute worst cases. But unfortunately. You know some people have had endure these outages that we needed or much longer than than we anticipated that said. I said yeah to top it mean we're moving forward on getting. More and more power back on line. We continue to work with the folks all across the industry to make sure that they are able to get there they're oh power supply back up so we can need to demand we have. And hopefully soon eliminate all the the outages that are back. And bill really quick we're at a time but I want your thoughts on this one of the big points of focus now is that Texas is on its own power grid yesterday the president called an alarming. Do you think after this Texas will be integrated into the National Grid. Well again we've got to focus on getting this troubled soul singing the power back on. I imagine there's going to be there we'll certainly be you know investigation this event. To determine what the right approach to going forward is that today. I'm not really focus on going forward I'm sure those discussions will come right now we got to get the power back on for you. People like bill Magnus ver Kyle we know you're busy we appreciate your time today good luck thank you. That you're much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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