Beto O’Rourke to visit winter storm victim Houston on Friday

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Nine months after the deadly winter storm in February, a new report provides answers on what went wrong.

HOUSTON, Texas – Newly announced Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke spent his first week on the campaign trail rallying troops across the state.

Friday he will be in Houston. The first item on his agenda is to visit the home of a victim of a winter storm.

It’s the winter storm Texans will never forget, and that’s exactly why it’s now going to be one of the biggest issues you’ll hear in the 2022 race for Governor of Texas.

RELATED: Candidate Beto O’Rourke Launches Gubernatorial Campaign

Nine months after the deadly winter storm in February, a new report provides answers to what went wrong.

RELATED: Federal Government Releases Final Report on February Freeze

“They froze and stopped long before the temperature got too cold for the equipment to work,” said Ed Hirs, KHOU energy expert.

Hirs says 81 percent of generators failed before they were supposed to.

“For those of us at home, if you skip too many oil changes, the engines won’t run,” Hirs said.

RELATED: New Winterizing Rules Approved By PUC To Make Texas Power Grid More Reliable

Over the past year, there has been pressure on politicians to fix the network. Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that winterization is now required for power generators, after a bill he signed in June.

“Comprehensive reforms to correct all the flaws that led to the blackout,” Governor Abbott said in June.

But Hirs says the bill has its own flaws, saying while some vendors will be winterized, others won’t.

“The regulators have offered companies that they regulate a way out, an easy waiver,” Hirs said.

So of course that’s a matter of debate between Abbott and now gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who has his own solutions.

“So let’s protect the grid, connect to the national grid so that when we need electricity in the future, we can cut it,” O’Rourke said at a campaign event Tuesday night.

But Hirs says it wouldn’t have helped in February.

“The statement regarding connection to the national grid is only Pollyannaish. First, they could not have supported us. There was not enough East, West or North capacity to get us through this debacle, “Hirs said.

Hirs believes a complete overhaul of the Texas energy market is the only solution.

For more stories about the Texas power grid, click here.

But when it comes to voters, will the winter storm issue resonate?

KHOU political analyst Bob Stein says it depends on how this winter unfolds and what homeowners see on their bills.

“I think they can only identify and remember their pain if their bills, their energy bills, are high,” Stein said.

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