AUSTIN, Texas — With roughly a quarter of Texans still without power, the managers of the state's electrical grid Wednesday declined to say exactly when electricity would be fully restored, saying that the main factor in coming days will be the weather.
Warmer weather could allow frigid power facilities to roar back to life, restore natural gas production, open up roads for skilled workers to make power repairs and cut demand from consumers, they said.
"The best case is that today or tomorrow we’re able to get back to the point that all consumers are experiencing outages no longer than 30 minutes or an hour at a time," said Dan Woodfin, head of system operations at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the nonprofit corporation that runs the state power grid.
But avoiding putting a date on the worst case, he said ongoing record cold winter weather statewide might continue to drive up electricity demand and continue to cripple power generation facilities.
Out of 12.4 million Texas homes and businesses tracked by PowerOutage.US, a website that records power outages, more than 3.3 million were without electricity at noon Wednesday, the third day of widespread power loss in the state.
The briefing from ERCOT leaders came as they're under mounting criticism as the calamity persists.
"This was a total failure by ERCOT," Gov. Greg Abbott said in an interview on Houston's TV station ABC13 on Tuesday evening. "ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas ... and they showed that they were not reliable. These are specialists, and government has to rely upon on these specialists to be able to deliver in these types of situations."
"Do you think ERCOT leaders should resign?" ABC13 anchor Gina Gaston asked Abbott.
"Yes," responded Abbott.
Asked about those comments at the press briefing Wednesday, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said, "The priority for us now, whatever the future holds, is to get the power back on."