Can a Repeat of the Crisis in Texas Be Avoided? Yes, by Building Resilient Operations

Published: 2021

By Nicholas Bahr & Gisele Cabrini, dss+
Excerpt published in POWERGRID International, April 2021

People may be breathing a sigh of relief as power has slowly been restored in Texas, but it would be foolish for anyone to be lulled into a false sense of security. While this crisis may be ending, similar incidents can happen anywhere, not just in Texas, and not just because of what some may consider a once-in-a-decade weather event. The fact is the United States’ aging electricity infrastructure is not sufficiently managed for risk, either from a severe weather or operational perspective.

The unfortunate truth is our electricity infrastructure is significantly vulnerable, and many electric utilities find themselves largely reacting to extreme weather or operational failures. Instead, by anticipating vulnerabilities throughout the value chain and building resilience into the electric grid now, utilities can begin to take some control over these unpredictable developments and avoid repeating negative outcomes of an outage to ratepayers, the community, and the environment. This will not only enable utilities to maintain continuity of operations when an unexpected event does occur, it will improve the agility with which they respond to an event and minimize the impacts on the company and its customers.