Texas man files suit against power companies for blackouts

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Posted at 9:25 PM, Feb 19, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Corpus Christi, Texas man has filed a lawsuit against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas -- better known as ERCoT -- the American Electric Power Company, Inc. and AEP-Texas.

Donald McCarley filed the action in Nueces County, alleging negligence on the defendants' part on multiple fronts: that it failed to supply the required amount of energy needed to successfully navigate the winter storm, and that AEP and AEP-Texas' "outdated" equipment failed, depriving Texans of 45,000 megawatts of energy.

He is seeking damages, saying that ERCoT's rolling blackouts caused damage to his property, and that the company knew the rolling blackouts would have such an effect on its customers' property.

ERCoT, AEP, and AEP-Texas "could have increased electric production capacity in Texas in the days and weeks leading up to the February 2021 cold weather event, but chose not to," McCarley states.

The suit also states that AEP and AEP-Texas had the opportunity to properly weatherize and update "their generation, transmission, and distribution facilities" to prevent the power-grid failure Texas residents experienced beginning Sunday night, "but consciously chose not to do so."

McCarley says similar weather events in 1989 and 2011 should have prepared the defendants for this storm, which he calls neither "unexpected" nor "unforeseen."

According to the suit, Texas' energy demand peaked at 69,000 megawatts, which is also not unusual. It also states that in 2018, a demand of in excess of 65,000 was handled successfully.

It also alleges that the state's energy grid regularly handles 125,000-megawatt usage in the summer months -- almost double this week's demand.

The suit also claims the lack of supply also was caused by the companies' "outdated power generators."

This article was written by Ana Tamez for KRIS.