A federal task force has tied last February’s power outages in the Southwest to a lack of preparation for bad weather, and suggested generation and transmission owners and operators in the region need to do a better job of winter planning.

Staffers from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corp. reached those conclusions in a report on disruptions that affected 4.4 million electricity consumers and 50,000 natural gas customers in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

“More thorough preparation for the cold weather could have prevented many of the weather-related outages,” they wrote in “Report on Outages and Curtailments During the Southwest Cold Weather Event of February 1-5, 2011,” released Aug. 16.

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