AUSTIN, Texas: Texas lawmakers have begun hearings into the causes of the enormous power outages that plagued Texas residents at the height of last week's severe winter blizzard.
As many as 48 percent of Texas' electricity generators were knocked offline last week. Bill Magness, chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), said on Wednesday that cutting electricity was necessary to prevent an even greater disaster.
The legislative hearings are expected to focus on the lack of planning and preparation by grid planners, electric utilities and natural gas transmission operators. The resulting power losses led to billions of dollars in damages and dozens of deaths.
During the hearings, consumer advocates are expected to seek the creation of regulations for utilities.
Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has blamed the Electric Reliability Council because it did not act quickly to prevent disruptions in power supplies and generators from falling offline.
He also said he understood the public's anger and has pledged to enact regulations to increase power supplies and prevent residents from paying enormous power bills.
Other issues to be considered at the hearings are the enormous losses suffered by the insurance industry during winter storms and power outages.
Initial reports claim that insurance losses in Texas may reach $18 billion this year. A normal winter sees insurance claims of $3 billion, said industry officials.