Ah, Texas. It’s been just a week or two since my husband and I drove across the panhandle as we made our way from Chicago to Tucson. It was fairly early in the morning when we crossed the Oklahoma State Line along I-40 into Texas. The temperature was well below freezing and the roads were covered with ice. The bridges were particularly fun to navigate. We made our way to Amarillo at a crawl as it seemed that whatever state agency maintains the roads and bridges along Interstate 40 had absolutely no interest in doing anything about the slick roadways. There were at least a dozen tractor trailers off the road in various spots. To be fair, your neighbors in Oklahoma had the same approach. Now I understand why you guys freak out when Mother Nature decides to take the temperatures to the low side. You act surprised (though it happens every year) and you don’t do a damn thing about it.
Apparently that was just a glimpse into the way Texans feel about winter weather.
For most of the state, the Texas power grid is independent from the rest of the continental United States. I’ve known this for a while but I didn’t know why. This week I learned it was to escape federal regulations and oversight on power grid maintenance. By maintaining power independence, Texas doesn’t have to do things like winterize power generators or build in costly redundancies, both required along the rest of the United States power grid. After all, Texas doesn’t see that kind of weather.
Except it does.
Our friends in the Houston area have been without power for tens of hours. Like 30-40 hours. No power. No heat. And probably no running water. In the freezing cold. This is not uncommon for The Lone Star State this week, millions of Texans have been in the same situation since this cold snap began. The Texas power companies have been instituting rolling blackouts to keep up with high demands, except the blackouts don’t roll, they just black out and not come back up. Our friends slept in sub-freezing temperatures in their house Monday night. They honestly didn’t know if they would survive.
What was it Trump said about “third-world shit hole countries”?
There is nothing great about the “greatest nation on Earth” when its citizens, no matter what state they live in, are freezing to death in their homes, especially when the powers that be have willfully decided to privatize and rely on good ol’ American capitalism for essential services such as electricity, water, and heat.
I will never understand why Texans elect representatives who put them in this situation. I feel terrible for the Texans that are having to live through this ordeal, regardless of who they elected. I just pray the folks down there will remember this catastrophic event come Election Day and start voting sensibly and start taking care of one another.
By the way, the power outages are not due to “windmills freezing up”. That’s a lie being propagated by the usual conservative “news” outlets and idiots on social media. All forms of power generation in Texas are freezing up due to a lack of preparedness for this type of weather. Only 5-10% of the wind turbines in The Lone Star State are having an issue right now. So please, let’s put all of that to rest and deal with the real situation.
Texas needs to get its act together.