Thursday, 18 February 2021 18:40

Texas Power Outages: Water Problems Mount, Food Runs Scarce and Hospitals Scramble

Written by Texas Tribune Staff


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Progress is being made to restore power to the majority of millions of Texans whose electricity and heat was forced off by energy providers during the subfreezing temperatures the week of Feb. 15, Texas' energy grid operators said Feb. 18.

"We're to the point in the load restoration where we are allowing transmission owners to bring back any load they can related to this load shed event," said Dan Woodfin with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in a statement.


Those without power still, he said, are more likely to be affected by ice storm damage on power distribution systems, systems that need to be manually restarted after they were forced to shut down and large power facilities that voluntarily went offline and haven't again started dispersing energy.


Austin Energy reported Feb. 18 that 13% of its energy customers were without power, compared to more than 40% Feb, 15. Less than 2% of the Houston area was reportedly without power, which had seen about 60% of its homes and businesses without power during the storm.


Abbott provides few details on when Texans’ suffering will end as state’s crises mount


As millions of Texans continue struggling through a dayslong winter storm without power or potable water, Gov. Greg Abbott provided few details Feb. 17 on when they can expect their situations to improve.


As of Feb. 17, 2.7 million households didn’t have power. And nearly 12 million Texans are facing water disruptions after enduring multiple days of freezing temperatures.


Texans running low on food are finding empty grocery store shelves. Food pantries are running out of supplies. And the freeze has wiped out substantial portions of the state’s citrus and vegetable crops.


Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left the state’s power grid vulnerable, experts say


Texas officials knew winter storms could leave the state’s power grid vulnerable, but they left the choice to prepare for harsh weather up to the power companies---many of which opted against the costly upgrades.


That, plus a deregulated energy market largely isolated from the rest of the country’s power grid, left the state...

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