Franklin PUD explains measures to prevent Texas-like outage

PASCO, Wash. – As Texas continues to thaw from being in below-freezing temperatures, they also recover from a massive power outage.

As temperatures continued to drop throughout the state, the ERCOT power grid couldn’t hold up. Mike Gonzalez with Franklin PUD said their gas lines froze and broke; energy sources were not weatherized.

“They were essentially out of gas, so there went a huge part of their energy portfolio, their wind turbines, those weren’t weatherized either; a good portion of those went out. That’s nearly 50 percent of your energy portfolio and it simply couldn’t keep up with the demand,” Gonzalez, the Public Relations Director explained.

Officials later discovered, Texas was only minutes away from a complete, statewide outage that could’ve lasted longer than a week.

RELATED: ‘Who is at fault?’ Investigation into Texas blackout begins

This has prompted people to ask, with Washington’s unpredictable winter weather, could this happen here?

“When you look at our infrastructure, we’re prepared, we’re ready,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said our area and state heavily rely on hydropower and locally, the Bonneville Power Administration.

“The biggest difference is that the BPA is actually federally regulated so when the government comes in, they’re making sure there’s processes in place, that all our infrastructure is weatherized, that we’re ready to go,” Gonzalez said.

Texas’s grid is not federally- regulated.

Washington is also connected to other states, in case we need more power.

“We’ve got interconnections with California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, on this Western Grid. So a lot of times we’re able to energy share. They’re out there on their own so once that system gets out of balance, there’s no one that they can call on,” he explained.

Gonzalez said this also highlights the importance of our dams that provide hydro-electricity.

“There’s actually an electrical line that runs right from Ice Harbor Dam to the Trip-Cities. So, if we need some extra megawatts on a really cold day, BPA can actually call on that any time,” Gonzalez said.

To watch Franklin PUD’s full video on this topic, visit this link.