Washington D.C., November 16, 2021— The American Public Power Association applauds the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), North American Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the NERC Regional Entities for the completion today of the comprehensive report “The February 2021 Cold Weather Outages in Texas and the South Central United States.”
Cold weather in the Midwest, Texas, and other parts of the South Central U.S. in February 2021 led to high demand for electricity while at the same time supply (power generation) was constrained due to natural gas well and processing facility freezes, wind turbine freezes, and cold weather impacts at power plants themselves. Natural gas prices skyrocketed to extraordinary levels, which contributed, in turn, to extremely high wholesale electric prices in the affected regions.
These events put grid reliability for millions of Americans at risk and left utilities and their customers facing billions of dollars of additional costs they will be repaying for years to come. While the February winter storm was still raging, APPA urged FERC to investigate not only the impacts of the cold weather on the operation of the bulk power system, but also the causes of significant price increases experienced in the natural gas markets.
APPA has also been working with its members to prevent a recurrence of these events, including through legislative and regulatory approaches. One key to responding, however, has been a definitive investigation of the core causes of these events. The report today will be a critical resource in this effort. We look forward to working with FERC, NERC, and other energy stakeholders to use this report and our own findings to ensure that these events do not happen again.