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Texas Power Problems Persist As Deep Freeze Continues

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Winter storm in Austin Texas. Cacti in ice. Freezing rain. Winter scene-Texas Power Problems-ss-featured

Texas power problems continued for the second day as millions of homes remain without electricity. A severe cold storm knocked out the electricity grid, triggering a statewide emergency. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, said it continues to try restarting power plants hobbled by the weather. However, the agency warned that full restoration could take days longer. 

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Meanwhile, the National Weather Service said that a far-reaching winter storm brought snow, ice, and record low temperatures throughout the Great Plains and the Mississippi Valley. Very cold wind chills from Arctic air will linger at least until midweek. 

Severe Winter Conditions

Across Texas, temporary shelters filled up with residents seeking shelter from the cold. Public health officials fear that the cold could cause a number of deaths given the lack of power for heat. Governor Greg Abbott called for an investigation into the power failure. Around two to three million Texans suffer from lack of electricity by Tuesday evening. Around 15 people already died from the severe winter storm.

Hotels and shelters filled up with residents escaping from their homes that lost power and heat. Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center reached capacity at noon Tuesday. City officials are still out looking for heated spaces to accommodate more Texans in need of shelter. South of Houston, the resident medical examiner for two counties requested a refrigerated truck in anticipation of fatalities. “We don’t have confirmation of weather-related deaths yet, but I find it extremely unlikely that won’t be the outcome. When you’ve been in your home without any heat or power, I don’t know how some people will be able to survive that,” said Galveston County Judge Mark Henry.

Texas Power Problems Persist

Prior to the blackouts, power demand spiked as many residents jacked up their thermostats to fight the cold.  However, natural gas, coal, wind, and nuclear facilities in Texas went down as the weather became too cold to operate. With less power generated, ERCOT was not able to keep up with demand. The agency started with rolling outages, which then became prolonged blackouts. Electricity prices in the energy-rich state skyrocketed above 10,000% versus pre-winter storm days. 

In addition, Texas remains the only state that operates independently from the federal grid. Texas voluntarily chose the option of not connecting as it prefers self-management for its power requirements. However, this means that Texas won’t have the means to get power from other states in cases of shortages or during an emergency. 

Texas is Number One In Power Production

Analysts see the Texas power problems as ironic, considering that the state is number one in electricity production in the US. Texas generates almost twice as much as the next state, Florida. It accounted for 41% of the total US oil production and around 25% of the natural gas output. The Lone Star State also produces 28% of all wind power output in the country. 

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Unfortunately, Texas isn’t accustomed to the cold weather. The state is subtropical east of Interstate 35 and arid desert west of it. The state never expected the severity of the cold front that hit it lately. More importantly, its power plants and infrastructure remained ill-prepared for the effects of the cold. This led to a series of shutdowns that crippled the electricity supply. Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s senior director of system operations, said they urged power plant owners to winterize its operations. However, winterizing isn’t compulsory for the moment, and can cost substantially. The record low temperatures broke the current system. “We have plans in place to cover normal extreme weather conditions. This one is a little beyond our normal,” Woodfin admitted. 

State of Emergency 

Abbott earlier requested the White House to declare a state of emergency statewide. President Joe Biden approved Abbott’s request and directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts. Also, Abbott sent the National Guard to conduct welfare checks and assist with emergency operations.

In addition, Abbott called for the Texas legislature to investigate ERCOT and the power outages. He called the situation “unacceptable,” and said, “the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours.” ERCOT replied on Twitter that the agency is working to restore power “as fast as we can in a stable manner. Generating units across fuel types continue to struggle with frigid temperatures.”

Watch the CNBC news video reporting that winter storm continues to slam the US, causing millions in Texas to face rolling power outages:

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Do you think Texas should consider connecting to the federal electricity grid to avoid power problems? Or, should Texas take steps in winterizing its power plants instead? Let us know what you think by sharing your comments below.

22 Comments

22 Comments

  • Luis Arce says:

    Texas should remain independent, but the plants should be winterized and ERCOT should be investigated, because with all the technology nowadays this should never happened.

  • Richard Burman says:

    Get rid of the stupid, unrealistic dream of green energy actually makes sense and rely on fossil fuels and atomic energy.

  • Nancy Sawyer says:

    No to the federal power grid. You can’t trust federal government. Especially now. Winterize our plants. This is ridiculous and ERCOT is obviously a joke. Curious as to what the CEO of ERCOT makes.

  • Sam clark says:

    First off, investigate Ercot and who is making the decisions and why Texans are freezing to death in sub-zero weather. With all the power Texas produces for other states, why are we suffering? My first inclination is simple, our governer has threatened to sue the Biden administration for trying to shut down the Oilfileld in Texas. I’ll bet it’s a Democrat that is running Ercot. And if this is true then this only means one thing, we are being punished by the President. At that point Texas should just annex ourselves and focus on what’s truly important, OUR FAMILY….

  • Barbara Peters says:

    Governor Abbott should use executive action to increase Texas power plant capabilities to allow for operation at the very least 90% gas and oil. This very expensive lesson with the unacceptable loss of life must requires more action than investigation. Let’s put the dollars where we need them, updated and improved power grids! And quit spraying our sky with heat blocking chemicals.

  • Doug says:

    Coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. TEAR DOWN THE USELESS WIND MILLS!!

  • Stephen Bush says:

    Very well said Sam Clark I agree 100 percent.

  • Nate Paris says:

    I HOPE? This helps those wake up and smell the roses, that “The Green New Deal” is NOT ready for implementation! Solar/Wind IS NOT PERFECTED TO ALLOW IT TO BE THIS COUNTRIES MAIN SOURCE OF POWER!
    25-40 years it may be perfected? But for NOW, FOSSIL FUELS, Fracking, Nuclear Energy, Hydro-Electric and even CLEANER COAL have been PROVEN to be LIFE SAVORS! Don’t discount Our PROVEN METHODS for SURVIVAL!!!!!!!

  • av8r says:

    Asinine choices!
    What federal grid? Do see any other state getting power help from any federal grid?
    “cold conditions”? How often does TEXAS see weather anything like this?
    Investigate what? You don’t prepare for a flood on a mountain!

    We should be forcing limits on federal government not broadening it!
    The federal government is into many things the Constitution gives solely to the individual states.

    Investigations should be to find those who have infiltrated the government and enacted unconstitutional policies and legislation.

  • john says:

    without this co2 blame for the BS of climate change, this would have never happen, shutting down all the gas powered generators for a bird killing windmill is a good bed time story but is all about a lie. Any business would have had a large gas generator running at a stand by capacity in this case. What subject ignorant EEOC hire is running the power grid system?
    thanks

  • Tom “Doc” Hartley says:

    I am extremely angry and frustrated. Even I know that this eco crap is just that “crap”. One never puts all the eggs in one basket for just this reason. We, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA produce, transport and with less emissions of “greenhouse gases “ of any country in the world. There is “NO EXCUSE “ for what is happening with the power grids. The eco freaks need to be taken to W. Texas and made to survive the rest of the winter. Not the little people I am talking about all the TOP RICH ASS HOLES, and THE politicians. See how they like it. Doc

  • ARLEEN MARTA says:

    stay indeoendent of the government, avoid green deal and winterize to avoid future problems. The fed should only kick in when an emergency happens those Texans pay federal taxes as well as everyone else feds should have kicked in during this emergency as a back up. Power failures is a National emergency and a Nation security threat to every state in the USA.

  • Kevin Andres says:

    Texas should remain autonomous. The government under Biden is unstable and will seize Texas assets in a minute. Find out why the Texas grid is undersupplied and correct it. Harshly prosecute ANY malfeasance.

  • Terry Hurlbut says:

    Forget the grid hook-ups, except maybe a few emergency trunks that you normally don’t connect. Definitely winterize. Still trying to see whether Texas has any battery power; it needs it, and if it already has it, it needs more. And definitely get some new leadership at ERCOT. I spent a total of 8-1/2 years living in Texas and I know that, every winter, the Arctic Flying Wedge aims straight at Texas, with the Rockies to the west and the Appalachians to the east funnelling all that cold air due south. OF COURSE you have such a thing as winter in Texas! Don’t EVER doubt that! But while we’re at it, I’m watching closely the debate on the Texas Independence Referendum Act. I urge Texas to pass it and Texans to vote Yes. I’ve got my eye on real estate in the Hill Country. Just saying.

  • Jim Baehr says:

    Coal fired steam generating stations were built in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s to combat energy shortages. The federal government has gone to great lengths to close them down and replace them with this unreliable “green energy” of windmills and solar panels. Most of the coal powerplants in Texas are built close to the source of coal, and with the proper environmental scrubbing devices are clean. Natural gas powerplants are reliable sources of power, but are limited at time by supply due to pipeline infrastructure. Nuclear power generation is also reliance and clean. Texas should tell the federal government to take a flying leap and scrap this green energy crap and return to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. Texas has the natural resources for reliable energy production and should use them.

  • Branden Oconnell says:

    Serves Texas right for not understanding climate change means hotter summers and colder winters hope they all get what they deserve we call this population control let the idiots die who can’t figure out the facts so the rest of us can live good bye idiot republicans hope you all freeze

  • Hilda Luna says:

    Investigate the Texas power grid system, have the energy companies upgrade their systems, without transferring these costs to the customers! Definitely regulate any charge increase to the customers

  • William Phillips says:

    Texas should have already taken measures to prevent such an event that is occurring at this moment. Give me a break; its all about the bottom dollar and that is why things are not done ahead of time in the US. All corporations, state and especially federal government will not take actions to prevent a foreseen disaster until the disaster actually occurs. Once a disaster happens and lives are lost, only then will they consider appropriate actions. For the time being SNAFU takes affect and the finger pointing process begins. But, never get anything from the federal government. Not even permission to be on their electrical grid, cause that is another thing held over the states head. The federal government will put something out there that they want passed and if a state does not agree with them, the feds in return threaten to take things away/out of the federal budget (this has happened on many occasions in the past). Texas and all the fourteen states involved in this need to put their heads together and get this issue solved before next winter and more people die.

  • Cathy says:

    NO!!! Texas should by all means STAY AWAY FROM THE FEDERAL GRID! We have the necessary means to stand alone without the federal gov involvements! They have caused us enough trouble in the past, and now that Biden is pres. NO THANK YOU! In all truth, we do not need help! We help other states with our resources. It’s time to take back all that control back. We can and Should STAND on Our Own! Texas is Self-Sufficient!!!

  • LIZ says:

    Hasn’t 9/11 taught us to expect the worst? The unexpected? The inevitable? A few generators froze because they weren’t housed and they didn’t need to be since the weather didn’t warrant it. That comes from the mouths of the ercot ceos! For a non-profit they are sitting pretty and not even in the state. No propane, no gas, no water, no electricity. Everyone passing the buck for blame and who’s going to pay? US! The Customer wheres our compensation? Texas residents should get an additional arctic blast stimulus from ERCOT.

  • JR says:

    Branden, you are nothing but a big punk ass. If the environment isn’t perfect you stupid asses cry climate change. Mother nature is much bigger than man ever will be. Democrats cry climate change, systemic racism, and gender orientation crap, while you run this country financially into the ground. YOU are about zero responsibility, accountability, and think everything should be provided to the lazy and unmotivated by those who are completely opposite of this. If you are born, then you are entitled. What a sad excuse of a human being you all have become.

  • Don Koza says:

    I have seen ice storms in PA, MI, OH, and MD, but none were as bad as Texas experienced. This seemed to be quite an aberration. I believe what needs to be investigated is the exorbitant rates the utilities charged during this period.
    BTW, Texas does have limited interconnections to surrounding grids. The electricity is converted to direct current then back to alternating current in order to match the phase and to make quick disconnect easier.

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