Jump to content

Texas water shortages persist; 'fragile' power grid returns to life


rooster59

Recommended Posts

Texas water shortages persist; 'fragile' power grid returns to life

By Callaghan O'Hare

 

2021-02-19T100855Z_1_LYNXMPEH1I0KL_RTROPTP_4_USA-WEATHER-TEXAS.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Volunteers hand out meals at a Salvation Army facility after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Plano, Texas, U.S. February 18, 2021. REUTERS/Shelby Tauber

 

HOUSTON (Reuters) - In the latest fallout from a crippling winter storm, more than 14 million Texans on Friday had to endure disrupted water service, leaving many longing for a hot shower just as the state's power grid jerked back to life after five days of blackouts.

 

All the state's power plants were functioning again, although more than 195,000 homes remained without electricity on Friday morning, and residents of 160 of Texas' 254 counties had water service disruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

 

Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the cold snap. Officials say they suspect many more have died, but the bodies have not been discovered.

 

A warming trend is expected to relieve some of the pressure on the region on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

 

"One more night of below freezing temperatures at some areas, then a warm up is expected into the weekend," the weather service's Houston office wrote on Twitter on Friday.

 

Bitter cold weather and snow have paralyzed Texas since Sunday, shutting down much of the state's electricity grid and freezing pipes and waterways, leaving communities across the state either without water altogether or forced to boil it for safety.

 

Monday was the third coldest day since record keeping began, according to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, with a statewide average temperature of 16.7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8.5 degrees Celsius), citing records dating back to 1899.

 

That same day, temperatures in the state capital Austin dropped below those in parts of Alaska.

 

Jennifer Jordan, 54, of Midlothian just south of Dallas, said she and her husband were without power even though the family's online account with the provider indicated their issues had been "resolved."

 

"I have no power at my house - not one drop of power," the high school special-education teacher said in an interview. "It’s really hard. You are really longing to get a hot shower, eat a hot meal."

 

But even as services in many neighborhoods return, broken pipes and other damage continue to render some homes uninhabitable.

 

In Houston on Friday, plumbers worked on Friday to repair pipes that froze and ruptured in Drew Ainscough's 1920s bungalow, damaging several rooms. Water service has been returned to his block, but remains turned off for their home as repairs continue.

 

"Right now, we're not really able to live in there," said the 33-year-old engineer, who has been staying with his in-laws for the past several days. "Hopefully, by this weekend we'll be able to have everything cleaned up enough."

 

In parts of the state, frozen roads remained impassable. Ice-downed lines and other issues had utility workers scrambling to reconnect homes to power, while oil and gas producers look for ways to renew output.

 

Hospitals in some hard-hit areas ran out of water and transferred patients elsewhere. Millions of people were ordered to boil their drinking water after water-treatment plants lost power, which could allow harmful bacteria to proliferate.

 

In Houston, a mass distribution of bottled water opened at Delmar Stadium on Friday, the city's Office of Emergency Management said. Around midday, the line of cars waiting to enter the stadium stretched for at least half a mile, one police officer told Reuters.

 

Speaking at the stadium distribution site, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city aimed to distribute more than 1 million bottles of water to its residents on Friday and that another mass distribution would take place on Saturday.

 

A boil-water order for the city might be lifted as soon as Monday, he said.

 

Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, said she was pleased with progress, but warned residents to brace for more hardship.

 

"The grid is still fragile," she said, noting cold weather would persist for a few days, which would "put pressure on these power plants that have just come back on."

 

President Joe Biden said he would accelerate federal emergency assistance for Texas and had directed his administration to identify other resources to help the state.

 

Biden said he would meet with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday and ask him to issue a major disaster declaration to speed up aid.

 

"God willing, it will bring a lot of relief to a lot of Texans," Biden told reporters at the White House.

 

POWER BACK

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that all power-generating plants were online as of Thursday afternoon. He urged lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure the grid was prepared for cold weather in the future.

 

"What happened this week to our fellow Texans is absolutely unacceptable and can never be replicated again," Abbott told an afternoon news conference.

 

The governor lashed out at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state's electricity, which he said had told officials before the storm that the grid was prepared.

 

Officials said during a press call on Friday that ERCOT has enough generation in its system to return to normal operations.

 

"I really want to acknowledge this immense human suffering we saw throughout this event," ERCOT Chief Executive Bill Magness said at a news conference on Friday. "When people lose power, there are heartbreaking consequences.”

 

Two community hospitals that are part of the Houston Methodist system in Texas' largest city had to get "creative" when their water supply was cut off this week, said Public Relations Director Stefanie Asin. A shower trailer was brought in for frigid, exhausted staff, and laundry bins were deployed to collect rainwater to flush toilets.

 

As of Friday, water service had been restored at those hospitals, Asin said in an interview.

 

"The water will be challenging," she said. "We've handled it so far, we'll continue handling it. ... But we'll still need to take precautions."

 

(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas, Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, Callaghan O'Hare in Houston and Steve Holland in Washington; Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Maria Caspani in New York and Gary McWilliams in Houston. Writing by Maria Caspani and Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Gerry Doyle, David Gregorio and Frank McGurty)

 

reuters_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-02-20
 
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m delighted Texans won’t be freezing to death nor dying of carbon monoxide poisoning .Now get rid of that traitor ted Cruze you know the guy he’s the one that knifed our democracy and ran out on you guys had enough?what an absolute sleaze bag let trump insult his wife and still groveled at trumps feet even spearheaded trumps attempted coup had enough?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My two favorite internet jibes relating to the Texas utility collapse:

 

Ted Cruz: ‘Courageous father crosses the border with Mexico in search of food, warmth, water and safety for his family’.

 

Elon Musk: ‘How you enjoying your low regulation environment Musky?’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems some here were off with their comments about the problems in texas. They should read this. And avoid whatever sources for news they are currently using.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/19/climate/texas-storm-power-generation-charts.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

 

 

Conservative politicians and pundits were quick to blame wind farms and renewable energy more broadly for the power outages. But natural gas — which is a crucial power source when electricity usage peaks — was hit hardest.

During the blackouts, the grid lost roughly five times as much power from natural gas as it did from wind. Natural gas production froze, and so did the pipelines that transport the gas. Once power plants went offline, they were not prepared to restart in the below-freezing conditions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, Jeffr2 said:

Seems some here were off with their comments about the problems in texas. They should read this. And avoid whatever sources for news they are currently using.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/02/19/climate/texas-storm-power-generation-charts.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage

 

 

Conservative politicians and pundits were quick to blame wind farms and renewable energy more broadly for the power outages. But natural gas — which is a crucial power source when electricity usage peaks — was hit hardest.

During the blackouts, the grid lost roughly five times as much power from natural gas as it did from wind. Natural gas production froze, and so did the pipelines that transport the gas. Once power plants went offline, they were not prepared to restart in the below-freezing conditions.

One nuclear power plant was also taken off line because the cold stopped a water pump from working. And it should be noted that in other states affected by this weather system, wind turbines performed just fine. Because they were hardened for such conditions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, placeholder said:

One nuclear power plant was also taken off line because the cold stopped a water pump from working. And it should be noted that in other states affected by this weather system, wind turbines performed just fine. Because they were hardened for such conditions.

In the end, blame lies with the politicians. They refused to do part of the federal grid, wanting nothing to do with the federal government. Republicans. Go figure.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that really bugs me is people  who hide their actions behind their kids, spouses, etc.  Spineless.

No, Ted will not resign, we already no he has no morals, but morals are not part of the New Republican Party.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Jeffr2 said:

In the end, blame lies with the politicians. They refused to do part of the federal grid, wanting nothing to do with the federal government. Republicans. Go figure.

I forgot about that. Because Texas imagines itself to be a quasi-Republic, it cut itself off from power that could have been supplied by power sources in other states.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hopefully now they will have the will and support amongst the electorate to harden their grid unfortunately there’s a strong possibility that thease events will be more common 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds the water issues will take a lot longer to resolve than the power issues?

 

Seeing people queued around a spigot for water is weird, I mean for the U.S.

 

In some ways, this is almost worse than a hurricane. 

 

The food shortages are also alarming. The photos of the bare shelves is shocking.

 

Hopefully warmer weather returns ASAP, and that people can start to make a full recovery.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Owing to Texas choosing to be off the national grid and regulation being minimal, Texans are now faced with massive electricity bills.

 

Under normal demand they are charged around $50 per megawatt hour, but because cost is a function of demand (and no regulation), and demand is huge because of the freeze, the cost has soared to $9000 per megawatt hour. Many Texans are going to be in for a huge surprise.

 

There is no better example of Nasim Taleb's "Black Swan" than this Texas debacle. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), now kind of an unintended oxymoron, never planned for the level of usage now seen, nor did any of the power providers (gas pipelines, wind turbines, etc.) plan for temps this cold. Wind turbines were first blamed---as was, oddly, AOC---but wind provides about 4% of Texas power, and those owning the turbines declined to purchase heating units that would have allowed the turbines to continue operating in extreme cold. The biggest culprit is the natural gas pipeline owners who never purchased equipment that would insulate the pipelines from extreme cold, so the pipes froze.

 

Fat tails (extreme events of low odds with massive consequences) are rarely properly accounted for. When they do happen, the costs involved in cleaning up dwarf whatever pre-event mitigation efforts would have cost. Better insulation of gas pipelines now looks pretty cheap relative to what damage lack of insulation has now caused.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, mtls2005 said:

The food shortages are also alarming. The photos of the bare shelves is shocking.

 

empty.png.7c05af0a7a861218a241d977c4128fc3.png

 

Unfortunately it's becoming more frequent in the US.  This was taken March 2020.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this some kind of wicked paradox to see Texas struggling with energy and water problem when the state is number 1 in both crude oil and natural gas and the richest state in terms of GDP. To see citizens struggling for power and water remind me of a 3rd world country. The state lawmakers must be held accountable for the mismanagement of the state’s energy and infrastructure. They sold out Texas. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Toll of harsh winter weather comes into focus as reported deaths climb sharply

Soon after Carrol Anderson lost power in his Crosby home earlier this week, his oxygen machine stopped working. He had asked his provider for more tanks the previous week but didn’t get any before harsh winter conditions set in. The 75-year old Vietnam War veteran turned to two small bottles of oxygen he had, but his supply quickly depleted.

 

With no firewood left and temperatures plummeting, Anderson turned to his last resort to breathe: A small portable oxygen tank he kept in his truck.

 

It was 19 degrees outside. He died in his truck Tuesday.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/galveston/article/Harsh-weather-suspected-in-2-Galveston-County-15960529.php

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, mtls2005 said:

Seeing people queued around a spigot for water is weird, I mean for the U.S.

 

Who's the sh****le country now? Heating bills are also beginning to hit. Some with $2000 or $3000 heating bills. One person had a $212,000 bill.

Link to post
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, John Drake said:

 

Who's the sh****le country now? Heating bills are also beginning to hit. Some with $2000 or $3000 heating bills. One person had a $212,000 bill.

Wow that’s expensive I was thinking of buying a gasoline driven welder generator for projects and (I was going to tell the wife)as a backup generator for the house but I’ll bet they are going to get snapped up quick!out of the question now I’m afraid 

Link to post
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Eric Loh said:

The state lawmakers must be held accountable for the mismanagement of the state’s energy and infrastructure. They sold out Texas. 

 

It's ERCOT that needs to be held liable, especially the individuals responsible for hiring members of the board of directors who do not live in the state. One of them doesn't even live in the United States. When the chairman of ERCOT lives in Michigan, her feel for what is going on is going to be as remote as her residence.  

Quote

The nonprofit managing 26 million Texans’ access to electricity voted to hand one-third of its decision-making power to five people who do not call Texas home. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, manages about 90% of the state’s electric load, according to the organization.           https://www.kxan.com/investigations/5-ercot-board-members-dont-live-in-texas-one-from-canada/

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, candide said:

Cruz is toast now, for sure! Public opinion will never forgive him!

😃

Ted Cruz ‘left behind’ pet poodle, Snowflake, at ‘freezing’ Texas home during Cancun trip

https://news.yahoo.com/ted-cruz-left-behind-pet-135506207.html

Does that mean Beta might win this time if he gives it another try? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Jeffr2 said:

In the end, blame lies with the politicians. They refused to do part of the federal grid, wanting nothing to do with the federal government. Republicans. Go figure.

Disagree, I think even now the people don't want to pay a little extra and upgrade their systems to prevent this from happening again. In this case it is the people themselves to blame.

Link to post
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, John Drake said:

 

Who's the sh****le country now? Heating bills are also beginning to hit. Some with $2000 or $3000 heating bills. One person had a $212,000 bill.

 

That $212,000 bill was a formatting issue.  It was actually $202,102.16  Which is Feb 16, 2021 (2021 02 16), picked up by the software as the amount of the bill instead of the date.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/CenterPoint-Energy-accidentally-issues-whopping-15960852.php

 

That said, lots of people with power prices tied to spot energy prices are seeing 10x power bills (and higher) as a MW-HR of electricity went from a typical $50 to as high as $5000 on the spot market (that I've seen).  Most families have a constant price, but they also had the option of a price tied to the spot market.  That came back to bite them...  Attorneys have advised people to disable auto-pay on their power bills so they have a chance to dispute the charges before the power company hoovers it up out of their account.

 

I'm in Texas now- this is going to get interesting.  And not in a good way.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, stevenl said:

Disagree, I think even now the people don't want to pay a little extra and upgrade their systems to prevent this from happening again. In this case it is the people themselves to blame.

Good point. They elected the officials that created this mess. Crazy. Best of luck to them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

On 2/20/2021 at 6:13 AM, rooster59 said:

All the state's power plants were functioning again, although more than 195,000 homes remained without electricity on Friday morning, and residents of 160 of Texas' 254 counties had water service disruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Amazing that a 1st world country could suffer this kind of utilities failure.

I always made sure my houses in the west had a living room wood burning stove, with logs and a few bags of coal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Amazing that a 1st world country could suffer this kind of utilities failure.

Well, I think it was much better back in the days.  Then it got to be all about the money, not reliability, what with utility deregulation and all. I worked in the industry for years selling equipment for the distribution side of the house.

 

BUT, the linemen who have to fix and patch things in very crappy weather tend to be great guys.  They can be very well paid, but they earn it in times of need.  It can be a very dangerous and tough job at times.

Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Damrongsak said:

Well, I think it was much better back in the days.  Then it got to be all about the money, not reliability, what with utility deregulation and all. I worked in the industry for years selling equipment for the distribution side of the house.

 

BUT, the linemen who have to fix and patch things in very crappy weather tend to be great guys.  They can be very well paid, but they earn it in times of need.  It can be a very dangerous and tough job at times.

I always believed the utilities, education and healthcare should be owned by the government, and run for the benefit of the people. But the governments of the western world today puts profit before everything, while pretending to put people before everything.

How did we come to this state of affairs?

Link to post
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

I always believed the utilities, education and healthcare should be owned by the government, and run for the benefit of the people. But the governments of the western world today puts profit before everything, while pretending to put people before everything.

How did we come to this state of affairs?

Neoliberalism.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...