But just as mayors have problems when they don’t plow roads or pick up trash, governors get blamed when the state’s electrical system fails, even though the electrical systems are largely self-sufficient. Or, in the case of most of Texas, alone.
The government is also guilty of not mobilising quickly to provide heat, food and flush toilets to people stranded in a major disaster. Weather does what it does, but warnings that climate change will cause more and more abnormal weather events have been growing louder for years, and the challenge for government is to prepare for these crises.
I take responsibility. Greg Abbott said Thursday that he takes responsibility for the failure of his state’s unique power grid, which was set up in 1970, long before he became a politician, to plan for the cold and ice disaster that crippled his state and turned off the lights.
The system, commonly known as ERCOT, was given a more formal and inappropriate name this week by the Texas Electric Reliability Commission.
I take responsibility for the current status of ERCOT. Again, I think what happened is unacceptable, said Abbott, who urged lawmakers to change the system and pointed out that the senior officials overseeing it were not from Texas.
Part of my responsibility to the Legislature is to reorganize the ERCOT board and change its composition to better meet the needs of the people of Texas, Abbott said.
Guilty as charged. The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem, although Abbott says here that it’s actually an ERCOT problem.
Earlier this week, Abbott joined other Republicans in the state who actively tried to blame wind energy for the outage, fueling a partisan line against renewable energy rather than addressing the natural gas issue. For more information, read CNN’s Eric Bradner’s article.
Apparently Abbott had to postpone the conversation after those Houston Chronicle editorials appeared Thursday: Texans shivering in the dark now face many inconveniences – light, heat, running water, gasoline – but the most pressing problem is the acute lack of leadership in Austin.
That’s what it looks like: The man who predicted the Texas grid failure says the money should be spent to modernize the Soviet system.
The electricity’s on. No water. The good news in Texas is that most Texans are back in power.
The bad news is that up to 12 million people are facing water supply disruptions and being told to boil water.
What FEMA does. In a press release issued Thursday, FEMA said 729,000 gallons of water, more than 10,000 wool blankets, 50,000 cotton blankets and 225,000 meals were provided in Fort Worth, Texas. National Security Advisor Liz Sherwood Randall also told reporters that the agency has delivered 60 generators to Texas.
There’s another jelly coming. Let’s hope that even if the power is out, it’s not worth getting hot in the car. The Houston hospital system says there have been 100 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning since Monday. The latest news can be found here.
What’s next for Texas Power? We’ll be hearing a lot about deregulation and natural gas in the coming months, which probably has more to do with that than anything else.
I’ve been trying to understand the US energy system for the last few days, and I’m still confused. This incredible real-time energy consumption map from the Department of Energy is transformative, but it hasn’t helped. Discover all these different bubbles in Florida!
Free markets. Texans who have chosen not to participate in utilities and buy electricity in bulk, mostly through conservation, are now facing skyrocketing bills. The company has actually advised its users to go elsewhere to get electricity – prices can increase tenfold during a storm – but it’s hard to switch suppliers when utilities are overloaded.
Accumulation has consequences. Even with such an isolated power grid as Texas’, things are still connected. Abbott issued an executive order to promote the distribution of natural gas within the state, which sounds good for Texans, but gas prices are even higher, hitting other states and Mexico, which relies heavily on American natural gas.
Power outages in Mexico have interrupted production of certain products for GM and Volkswagen. It’s all connected.
Ruler for one side has a back
It’s her fault. Democrats in Texas, who continue to hope to gain some influence in the state’s power structure, are accusing Abbott and the Republicans who run the state everywhere of not being better prepared for the strange weather patterns that are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change.
Democrat Lloyd Doggett blamed the ruling party and its proud individualism for the state’s problems.
Our government has failed, Doggett told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Thursday.
Our local leaders, mayors, and district judges are working overtime to try to make a difference, as they did at the Covid outbreak. And now Texas, whose state leaders constantly attack the federal government, is depending on the federal government we call to try to get them out of a situation that never should have happened, that could have been prevented and properly reported, but just didn’t happen.
Overview 2022. Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso who wants to challenge Abbott next year, told Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that people don’t want to hear partisan gunfire. But he also said Republicans are to blame for everything.
The decision to deregulate our power grid in the first place and not need additional power in emergencies like this, and to not connect to the rest of the national grid so we can shut off the power we need, are all decisions made by Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, their predecessors and other elected Republicans in the state, O’Rourke said.
But I think most Texans don’t want to deal with the blame game right now, they want to make sure we can connect and prevent something like this from happening again. This means investing in the depletion of our transmission lines and in the generation of electricity.
Today on Ted Cruz. The U.S. senator and black bug of American politics has fled the state’s lingering cold for the warmer climate of Cancun. He was arrested on social media.
And no, he wasn’t trying to explain to Mexico why the governor of Texas is now piling up the natural gas that Mexico depends on. In the midst of the pandemic, he hoped his daughters would spend time with their friends. Cruz is back in the States. The girls stay with their mother during the holidays.
The other side of Texas is California. Compare this effort by Democrats in Texas with that of Democrats in California, who control everything in that state, to protect their governor, Gavin Newsom, who is facing a removal election in June. The last California governor to be recalled, Gray Davis, was humiliated after the experiment with energy deregulation led to a blackout. (That’s how Arnold Schwarzenegger got into politics).
Newsom’s main political crime is the arrogance of attending a fancy dinner when the state shouldn’t be attending. But even during the Covid pandemic, the state suffered from stricter guidelines than other states.
Other states have different problems
Ron DeSantis of Florida defends controversial agreements with vaccine developer – and threatens to withdraw vaccines if officials don’t like it.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the FBI are closely watching how Andrew Cuomo’s administration handles data on deaths at Covid nursing homes.