Texas’ Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT) faces a potentially massive class action lawsuit after the state’s power grid fails in deadly cold conditions.
ABC News reports that the lawsuit was filed by Morgan & Morgan, a Florida-based law firm with hundreds of attorneys across the country. In its complaint, Morgan & Morgan allege that ERCOT “completely failed” to make plans for sub-zero temperatures, despite several sources warning that Texas could face a near-unprecedented winter disaster.
Despite weather forecasts and widespread concerns, ERCOT – a non-profit utility company – has allegedly failed to take adequate action to ensure its power grid can stay online.
Morgan & Morgan attorneys Mike Morgan and Rene Rocha said not only did ERCOT refuse to prepare, but it wasn’t even the first time the utility had abandoned Texans.
“Despite multiple clear warnings, ERCOT’s alleged failure to ensure reliable generating capacity under the expected conditions forced many of its customers to endure dangerous freezing temperatures for long periods,” the two said in a statement. “It was not the first time that ERCOT failed to plan and prepare for cold weather. But instead of learning from past mistakes, ERCOT has once again disregarded its obligations to its customers. Over 70 people have died and millions of others have suffered emotional and physical trauma due to the alleged gross negligence of ERCOT. “
Person blowing snow; Image courtesy of JillWellington via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com
According to ABC News, ERCOT manages power distribution for more than 26 million people across Texas – a number that makes up around 90% of all electrical loads in Texas.
Just before the storms, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott issued a disaster declaration in all 254 counties in the state.
That statement, Morgan & Morgan said, “should have further emphasized the need for ERCOT to take appropriate action to ensure system performance under the expected conditions.”
When the winter weather began to hit Texas on February 14th, ERCOT’s capacity dwindled – its President and CEO, Bill Magness, issued a public statement confirming that the state’s power grid was “seconds or minutes” away from you catastrophic failure was removed.
After the collapse of the ERCOT network, millions of Texas were left without electricity, heat or running water.
While the evidence appears to be against ERCOT, the supplier has responded to the numerous lawsuits that are piling up against ERCOT by demanding sovereign immunity.
The doctrine of sovereign immunity states that government agencies are usually immune to civil litigation when such litigation poses a direct threat to their critical operations. Though technically non-government-run, ERCOT has claimed it’s so important to Texas that a lawsuit could bank it – and threatens to rob ERCOT of management despite its obligations to tens of millions of Texans.
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