Still, prominent Republicans like Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor and energy secretary in the Trump administration, have blamed renewables. In a blog post on the page of Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Perry sought to warn Democrats against trying to introduce greater oversight of the electricity industry.
“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Mr. Perry said.
Beyond arguing over energy sources, Mr. Abbott, who succeeded Mr. Perry in 2014, was already on the defensive over complaints by Democrats and even some Republicans over the insular way in which he names people to state boards and commissions. Legislation aiming to put an end to the governor’s so-called pay-for-play nominations for donors has failed to advance in the Republican-controlled chambers.
Mr. Abbott appointed all three of the commissioners on the Public Utility Commission of Texas that oversees ERCOT. As for ERCOT itself, the leader of its board does not live in Texas but in Michigan; its vice-chair is a professor who lives in California and teaches at a university in Germany.
“No one should be pretending that the cause of this catastrophe is some mysterious entity that is somehow detached from state government,” said Representative Chris Turner, leader of the 67 Democrats in the Texas House. “This entire episode represents a catastrophic failure of leadership.”
Still, even some Republicans who have demanded answers about the electricity crisis view things differently. Kel Seliger, a former mayor of Amarillo and now a member of the Texas Senate, cautioned about making drastic changes.
“I don’t think they planned for something that has the look of a catastrophe for a lot of people,” Mr. Seliger said. “How much generation would it take and how much would it cost the taxpayers to ensure that this didn’t happen? Then you have to weigh the costs against how often do we have this kind of thing.”