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    Texans not very confident in power grid’s ability to avoid blackouts, poll shows

    August 15, 2022 - Aria Jones, The Dallas Morning News


      When it comes to avoiding energy blackouts this summer, few Texas voters are very confident the electric grid is prepared, according to a new poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler taken in early August.

      Only 15% of registered voters surveyed said they had a great deal of confidence that the grid is prepared to avoid blackouts in their community. Half of those surveyed had either no confidence or not too much confidence that the grid is prepared.

      Nearly a third of those surveyed — 31% — had a fair amount of confidence while 4% said they didn’t know.

      In July, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas asked Texans to conserve energy after projecting an energy shortage, and while ERCOT said it did not expect systemwide outages, the call brought the state’s fraught relationship with its power grid to the forefront as Texans saw continuous triple-digit temperatures.

      Last year, Texas was devastated by its infamous winter storm that knocked out power to millions of homes and ultimately resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Texans. Up to 70% of ERCOT’s customers lost power, according to a survey by the University of Houston.

      Multiple factors have been blamed for the issues since the winter storm struck, including ERCOT and Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas’ independent power grid, Texas’ renewable energy sector and its deregulated energy market.

      Asked about how candidates for governor would handle the grid, 35% of respondents said Gov. Greg Abbott would do a better job, while 33% said Beto O’Rourke would. Thirteen percent said it was about the same. Ten percent said neither would do a better job and 9% didn’t know.

      When the question about confidence in the grid’s preparation through this summer was divided along political lines, 25% of Democratic-identifying respondents said they had no confidence in the grid’s preparation this summer and 31% answered that they did not have too much confidence. Of Republican-identifying respondents, 13% had no confidence and 28% did not have too much confidence.

      With a fair amount of confidence were 22% of Democratic-identifying respondents and 39% of Republican-identifying respondents.

      Fewer Republican-identifying respondents — 16% — had a great deal of confidence in grid preparation than the 18% of Democrat-identifying respondents who answered the same.


      The Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler Poll is a statewide random sample of 1,384 registered voters conducted August 1 and 7. The mixed-mode sample includes 412 registered voters surveyed over the phone by the University of Texas at Tyler with support from ReconMR and 400 registered voters randomly selected from Dynata’s panel of online respondents. The margin of error for a sample of 972 registered voters in Texas is +/- 2.6 percentage points, and the more conservative margin of sampling error that includes design effects from this poll is +/- 2.8 percentage points for a 95% confidence interval.

      The online and phone surveys were conducted in English and Spanish. Using information from the 2020 Current Population Survey and Office of the Texas Secretary of State. The sample’s gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, metropolitan density and vote choice were matched to the population of registered voters in Texas.

      Visit the Center for Opinion Research for more information about our current and previous studies.

      ©2022 The Dallas Morning News. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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