AUSTIN, Texas — About 50 people gathered Sunday afternoon outside ERCOT’s campus in suburban Austin, demanding the nonprofit that controls about 85% of the Texas power grid take responsibility for the disastrous failure that plunged millions into darkness without heat or water.
Hosted by the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Austin Stops Evictions and other groups, the protest at 7620 Metro Center Dr. called for the independent organization to be put under public control and be required to pay for the public crisis it created.
“This is the first and hopefully there will be more to come,” said Rachel Tucker, a 36-year-old organizer form San Antonio. “The people know now that ERCOT and the government don’t have the public’s interest in mind.”
Organizers said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and 220 electricity companies should cancel electricity debts that accumulated during the storm and “reimburse people whose bank accounts were robbed by the companies.”
They also want the state to provide funding for all whose homes were damaged by the energy collapse; stop ERCOT from passing on the cost of upgrading its infrastructure to the public; pay reparations to the families who lost loved ones; begin an “immediate and rapid conversion” to renewable solar and wind energy; and for the government to open more shelters during extreme weather events.
State legislators, county and district attorneys in Harris and Travis Counties, and a cadre of local mayors all are looking into what went wrong on Feb. 15, when near collapse of the grid led to dozens of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage.(c)2021 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.