Almost a year after winter storms and freezing temperatures left more than 4.8 million Texas homes and businesses without heat or power, robbed 210 people of their lives, and salted the wounds with sky-high electric and gas bills, it is as good a time as any to ask: Will things be different next time? Not unless Texas adds transmission connections to its neighbors.

Mark Twain could have had the Texas grid in mind when he said, “History never repeats itself, but it rhymes.” On Feb. 2, 2011, for example, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) lost 8,000 MW of generation due to frozen instrumentation; 3,541 MW was unavailable on Jan. 6, 2014, following the media-hyped “Polar Vortex”; and 1,775 MW was out of service during another cold snap on Jan. 7, 2017. The February 2021 deep freeze—when almost 50,000 MW of generating capacity was off-line—overwhelmed past events.