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Commissioner Garcia calls on Harris County to explore leaving ERCOT

KHOU 11 Energy Expert Ed Hirs says leaving Texas power grid is not the answer to prevent another crisis.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — One week ago, millions of Texans were sitting in the dark and cold. Now Harris County Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia wants Harris County to explore leaving the Texas power grid for good.

But is that feasible? 

Not according to KHOU 11 Energy Expert Ed Hirs. 

"Commissioner Garcia is looking for solutions just like everyone is," Hirs said. 

Hirs says leaving ERCOT would not solve a thing. 

"I don't think this is a starter in any shape, way or form," he explained. 

The agenda item is scheduled for discussion at Friday's Commissioners Court meeting. Garcia says he wants the county to explore how feasible it would be for Harris County to leave ERCOT and join a different electric grid not governed by state agencies. 

Garcia points to neighboring Liberty County currently in the Eastern Connect Grid. It fared a lot better than Harris County did during the freeze. 

"Tying into another grid is not a solution for Harris County," Hirs said. "The cost would be extraordinary then we would be dependent on what folks do in Louisiana, Arkansas or Manitoba."

Hirs says there are other possibilities. 

"Harris County might be better served by making a microgrid on its own," he said. 

Still even a move like that would require significant state legislative action. To fix this, all roads lead to the state Capitol. 

"I haven't seen anything that I find encouraging," Hirs said. 

Hirs tells KHOU 11 News he isn't convinced lawmakers will make the changes needed anytime soon. 

"This is something that could have been addressed 10 years ago, it could have been addressed 5 years ago, it could have been addressed 2 or 3 years ago, and no politician had the integrity to stand up and do that," Hirs said. 

KHOU 11 News did reach out to Commissioner Garcia to discuss his agenda item. But his office says his schedule was completely booked. We plan to follow up with him tomorrow.

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