LUBBOCK, Texas — With the threat of the season’s first freeze looming, Lubbock Power and Light said its local grid is “ready” to face any storm heading its way.
This freeze will mark the city’s first as a part of the ERCOT power grid that caused millions to be left without power during the deadly winter disaster in February.
“Over the past three or four years, we have invested over $300 million in our grid here in Lubbock … Our local grid here at home has been reinforced and is ready for a large winter storm should it come,” said Matt Rose, a representative for LP&L.
Rose said even before February’s storm, LP&L upgraded everything on the local grid from transmission lines to new substations, putting Lubbock ahead of the rest of the state in revamping weather infrastructure.
Rose emphasized this grid, pre-ERCOT at the time, did “brilliantly” during the winter storm, and he’s confident the grid will do it again now as a part of ERCOT. He also said there’s no indication any power conservation efforts, including rolling blackouts, will be needed for the coming first freeze.
He added that the passing of recent legislative bills has forced ERCOT to restructure and winterize its systems.
‘We believe that the improvements that ERCOT has made will be able to handle this on a statewide grid perspective,” Rose said.
But Susan Gillette with Lubbock’s chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to educating citizens on climate issues and lobbying elected officials, said that the legislative bills fall short.
“ERCOT has not prepared the grid for disasters like we had in February. Some of [the regulations] have been hardened — but not all of it. The legislature did not prepare us for what’s coming up,” Gillette said.
Local plumber Jeff Eade with Filter This Plumbing said he’s also concerned. He had family in Houston that lost power in February, and last year’s freeze had him working around the clock.
“We’re hoping [LP&L] can sustain it because it was bad last year. We got put out a long time, and with parts not being as accessible this year that worries us even more,” Eade said
He offered some tips to help homeowners prepare for this freeze.
“Keep your pipes warm, keep your cabinets open and cover those outside faucets … Drip your faucets, try to keep the water moving a little bit — Know that [this freeze] is coming, and get it done before it’s too late,” Eade said.