r/technology – Texas’ “failsafe” generators failed, risking weeks-long catastrophe. Black Start generators — and their backups — failed en masse during deep freeze.


Texas’ days-long power outages during last February’s deep freeze almost stretched into weeks or even months thanks to a string of failures at “black start” generators.

More than half of the state’s 28 black start generators experienced outages. Of the 13 primary generators, nine encountered trouble, as did six secondary generators acting as backups in case the primaries failed.

“Having had experience for almost two decades with utilities, it’s genuinely inconceivable to me—even in today’s massively deregulated environment—I cannot imagine how any regulatory oversight got itself into this position,” said Evan Wilner, who served as Delaware’s first public advocate representing utility customers.

I am hereby anointed to say “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”


Texas’ days-long power outages during last February’s deep freeze almost stretched into weeks or even months thanks to a string of failures at “black start” generators.

More than half of the state’s 28 black start generators experienced outages. Of the 13 primary generators, nine encountered trouble, as did six secondary generators acting as backups in case the primaries failed.

“Having had experience for almost two decades with utilities, it’s genuinely inconceivable to me—even in today’s massively deregulated environment—I cannot imagine how any regulatory oversight got itself into this position,” said Evan Wilner, who served as Delaware’s first public advocate representing utility customers.

I am hereby anointed to say “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

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