Winter Storm Uri: Texas Residents Furious as Deep Freeze Knocks Out Power Grid

by Jon D. B.

Almost 5 million in the state will again be without power tonight, Winter Storm Uri having pounded energy-rich Texas to a standstill.

Texans are furious amid Uri, and should be. While downtown Houston still glows bright, 5 million people are freezing through the worst winter storm in modern Texas history. Citizens are demanding answers from power companies and grid CEOs, alongside elected officials. As fatalities begin and refrigerated trucks are brought in to handle the dead, how is their incredibly energy-rich state letting them down so horrifically?

Apparently, Uri’s cold blasts near-completely shut down the state’s energy industry. Texas oil wells, refineries, and natural gas pipelines are shut down, halted, or frozen. Wind turbines, too, are at a standstill. Nothing in the largest southern state is equipped to handle a winter storm of this magnitude. And before the actual winter storm struck, unprecedented, freezing temperatures at the beginning of February sent prices for heating fuels (including oil and natural gas) skyrocketing.

Amidst it all, local news outlets continue to report Texas residents sleeping in their cars with the heat on to keep from freezing. Downtown businesses with power are opening as shelters for those without, and Texans are lining up in the freezing snow and ice for supplies.

The situation is dire, and without power, Texans at large are unable to aid themselves. Uri has resulted in the deaths of 15 people in multiple states, including Texas. In the state, a woman and girl died from “suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Houston at a home without electricity from a car running in an attached garage,” DailyMail reports. In addition, the frozen bodies of two men along a Houston highway have officials adding to the death total.

Texas Officials Scramble to Save Lives amidst Uri

So what are Texas officials doing about Uri? Officials in Galveston County are bringing in refrigerating trucks to handle “the expected influx of dead bodies as a result of the storm,” DailyMail continues. Moreover, Texas Gov Greg Abbott is demanding investigations into the state’s main power grid operator. Investigations, however, do not save lives. Nor do measures to deal with the dead… Offering a glimpse as to why Texas residents are so understandably furious – and frightened.

Governor Abbott is, at least, furious alongside his constituents. “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours… Far too many Texans are without power,” he states Tuesday. “[So many are without] heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

Senior director of system operations at ERCOT Dan Woodfin, however, is defending the preparations of grid operators. He places the blame instead on the “unprecedented” impact of Uri on Texas.

‘This weather event, it’s really unprecedented. We all living here know that,’ Woodfin says Tuesday. “This event was well beyond the design parameters for a typical, or even an extreme, Texas winter that you would normally plan for. And so that is really the result that we’re seeing.”

At large, power companies in Texas prep to handle heat waves, not cold snaps, ERCOT clarifies. Hopefully, however, Texas can get a grip on Uri and prevent the loss of any further lives.