News

Capitol Update: Energy infrastructure hearings

February 27, 2021

These past several days have been trying for all Texans, from those losing power and heat to those that found themselves without water, or boiling water from previously safe sources, and many who experienced all of these conditions simultaneously.

There have been billions of dollars in property damage from weather related instances and burst pipe and water damage, but most heartbreakingly, dozens of Texans died trying to survive the cold, many inside their own homes.

This week, the House convened a joint hearing of the State Affairs and Energy Resources committees to begin determining exactly what happened.  As Chairman of the State Affairs committee, I am committed to conducting a thorough investigation and finding out what failures occurred and what solutions are necessary to make sure that we never experience such a wide ranging failure across our state’s energy and electric systems.

This hearing started on Thursday (Feb. 25th) and we had so many witnesses called and so many questions from members of both committees that the hearing continued through the following Friday.  These committees took over 25 hours of testimony from experts and industry leaders, receiving important information that will help us find solutions.

Our preliminary investigation has shown that there were failures across our entire system, from electric generators that were not properly winterized to gas production facilities that were subject to the rolling black outs, to technical errors at ERCOT, and communication failures at every step of the crisis.

These hearings are just the beginning: we must find facts before we can take effective action.  The tragedy that befell our state is unacceptable, because while the winter storm was unavoidable, our state’s failures were not.  I am angry, as I know many of you are, and I vow that we will get to the bottom of this tragedy and Texas will emerge as a stronger, more resilient state.

I want to encourage you to reach out to me with your personal story or hardship relating to this tragedy.  I can be reached at 512-463-0556 or district9.paddie@house.state.tx.us.  You are able to submit your experience, concerns, or solutions as part of the official record for the hearing by going to https://comments.house.texas.gov/.  Comments for the official record can be submitted until noon on March 1st.