We all know about the devastating blackouts that hit Texas last month. Millions of people were without power for a week. People were miserably cold, pipes froze causing flooding damage, and most people were without potable water. Sounds eerily like the blackouts that occur in California. Been there, done that for three years in a row…and there is no end in sight.
Rick Perry, the former Texas governor and DOE Secretary, said: “Texans would rather be out of power than connect to the grid outside of Texas.” I’m pretty sure he is not talking about the people who’s lives were disrupted from this latest blackout.
The causes of the blackout are fairly obvious. It was unexpectedly cold — note that Texas has had cold weather like this every ten years or so. Energy systems were not “weatherized” to withstand freezing temperatures, so all types of power plants failed to generate sufficient power. The Texas electric grid is isolated from eastern and western electric grids, so extra power could not be transferred from out of state.
Moreover, the solutions to these problems are also fairly obvious. But it is extremely unlikely that Texas regulators, legislators, ERCOT, businesses and utilities will agree to these solutions before the next disaster. As we’ve seen in California, the finger-pointing will go on for years, billions of dollars will be fought over in bankruptcy courts, and whatever judgments and laws that are indeed passed with be appealed for several more years. There are simply too many strong business interests that are fundamentally opposed to changing the way Texans get their electricity.
So if you are a homeowner or business in Texas, are you going to wait for a government solution and hope that there are no more freezes, heat waves or hurricanes? Or are you going to explore your own solutions to ensure you have safe, reliable an inexpensive power?
Please listen up to this week’s Energy Show as we discuss timely and practical solutions to keeping the lights on in Texas.