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'We're going to find what the hell happened': Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says he'll use 'power of subpoena' to get answers to winter storm issues

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said the investigations will determine if there was any manipulation of the market.
Credit: WFAA

DALLAS — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick spoke in Dallas Monday, saying that investigations into the state's winter storm energy issues will begin Thursday and Friday.

Millions of Texans suffered power outages last week during subzero temperatures due to what was initially meant to be "rotating power outages." This turned into many people being without power for multiple days.

Patrick said he and his staff will use the "power of subpoena" to bring the people responsible for these energy issues to the table this week. He said the investigations will determine if there was any manipulation of the market.

"We're going to find what the hell happened," Patrick said. "We don't want people to send us your PR guys. We expect leaders and experts from these companies to come."

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Patrick said the focus right now is on the gas market and addressing the bills people are having or will have to pay. He said since the last hard freeze in 2011, ERCOT and other state energy officials had been telling them they were prepared for a winter storm like what happened last week.

"We have to be prepared for the worst of the worst and not say, 'Well gee, the system just wasn't up to it," Patrick said. "There are no excuses.

Patrick said he had a problem with some of the gas-producing West Texas plants that help provide energy for Texans losing power last week.

"One thing that is clear: You shouldn't be turning off the power for the people who are producing gas to go to the generators that produce the energy," Patrick said.

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Patrick said Texas doesn't need a single type of energy. He said what the state needs is a more diverse portfolio of options to provide power.

The lieutenant governor said he and his staff are considered creating a new legislative committee that would be tasked with handling energy issues 24/7 and be ready to make changes "any day of the week."

"I'm not going to take any half-baked measures," Patrick said. "We're not going to rest until we have legislation passed that addresses this issue."

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