A new $100 million lawsuit has been filed against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) who operate the electrical grid in Texas and the power generating company Entergy. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Jefferson County District Court and claims that Cristian Pavón Pineda died of hypothermia after electricity went out at the family’s home in Conroe, Texas, a northern suburb of Houston.
The Pineda family attorney said on ABC News that “This young man who died for no reason other than corporate decisions.” The lawsuit alleges that Entergy and ERCOT knew about the “dire” winter storm forecast and did nothing to warn residents of possible outages so that Texans could begin making plans of their own, and that the two companies knew they were unprepared citing a 1998 and a 2011 report by energy policy advisors and reports by the federal government which stated that power plants and ERCOT should spend money to winterize their facilities and operations. Both the 1998 and 2011 reports were issued following similar blackouts caused by winter storms in Texas.
Despite the two previous winter storms and their resulting blackouts, ERCOT claimed they had no clue this could ever happen and that the situation was “beyond any reasonable” possibility of knowing. Because Texas has its own grid, it is not under federal regulation which do require grid operators and power gestating plants to have winterized. ERCOT has no required winterization policy and only “recommends” it to power plant operators.
Neither ERCOT or Entergy would comment when Texas News Express contacted them.