The Texas House of Representatives is set to hold a hearing later this week to review what went wrong to cause power outages across the state during the recent winter storm.
As the Texas Legislature holds these hearings and investigates the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Texans must remember that ERCOT is only part of the larger problem. The energy crisis was a man-made disaster and a public policy failure. Those responsible must be held accountable.
Texas Republicans have systematically demolished protections Texans count on in a crisis, and the power grid failure was the result of decades of deregulation, corruption, and conservative control. Republicans cannot be allowed to use ERCOT as a scapegoat. In order to avoid these hearings turning into political theatre, Texans should be allowed to testify virtually so that lawmakers are held accountable.
Sign our petition to send a letter to lawmakers in the Texas Legislature demanding the hearing be open for virtual testimony to the public.
The joint session of the House State Affairs and Energy Resources committees will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. Lawmakers are expected to hear testimony from officials with ERCOT, the Railroad Commission, and the Public Utility Commission.
While ERCOT has understandably received much of the blame for the energy crisis over the past week, the organization is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and by the Texas Legislature. The Public Utility Commission is a three-member panel appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, which means that he and other Republican lawmakers who’ve made disastrous policy decisions during their decades of control over our state are just as responsible for this crisis. Abbott’s biggest political donors also come from the oil and gas industry, which factors into his policy decisions and helped lead to this crisis.
Currently, the committees overseeing the hearings are allowing public comments from Texans, but that’s not good enough. Republicans in the Legislature are likely to use ERCOT as a scapegoat during these hearings instead of taking responsibility for the role they played and key policy decisions that contributed to this crisis. That is why it is imperative that legislators give Texans the option to testify safely and hold ALL parties accountable.
Sign this petition and send a message to your state reps and senators calling on a virtual testimony option for the upcoming hearings.