Explained: Everything to know about Texas winter emergency that caused blackouts

Texas winter storm
Texas winter storm: Governor Greg Abbott declared a statewide disaster

The second-largest US state, Texas, has been hit by a major power outage as frosty weather wreaked havoc on infrastructure. Hundreds and thousands of families in the state of Texas are struggling to find food and clean drinking water. Also, over 30 people have died due to the Arctic blast. Also Read: NASA’s Mars Mission: First robotic rover ‘Perseverance’ successfully lands on Red Planet

Winter Storm ‘Uri’: The storm is the main culprit behind the problems of Texas residents. The storm descended upon the country last Saturday. In parts of Texas, wind chills fell below minus 15 degrees, lower than the temperatures in parts of Alaska!

Texas power grid failure: Grid failure can be attributed to the basic principles of supply and demand. The power grid was not equipped to handle the frosty weather of this magnitude.

Historically, summers are the time of rising energy demand in Texas. The state relies heavily on natural gas, wind energy and solar power – all three of which were harder to get during freezing temperatures and grey skies. To make matters worse, Texas is also the only state that is not federally regulated and uses its own power grid. Regulations generally force readiness for extreme situations like these. Also Read: Typhoon Molave: Vietnam prepares to evacuate over 500,000 people as another tropical storm approaches

Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT has a monopoly and manages electricity for 90% of Texans. Despite being forewarned about the possibility of the storm, none of the Texas officials or the power companies or ERCOT did much to prepare. Also Read: Typhoon Haishen: Storm intimidates South Korea after lashing Japan, thousands without power

What’re they saying: Senior Director of System Operations at ERCOT, Dan Woodfin said “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,”

“We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on.”

Regulator of oil and gas industry, The Railroad Commission of Texas said, “Some producers, especially in the Permian Basin and Panhandle, have reported experiencing unprecedented freezing conditions which caused concerns for employee safety and affected production.”

Former Texas governor Rick Perry said, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

“Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 per cent of our power grid and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. … It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary,”  Texas Governor Greg Abbott told Sean Hannity in an interview cited by the Washington Post.

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