All Politicians embellish, but those that flat out lie to deceive can never truly be trusted.
The worst winter in decades, Feb 13- Feb 17
Texans trying to survive the winter storm
Outages and Suffering
The unexpected winter storm for Texans, came at a high cost. The only one that knew it was coming were the politicians. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wasn't prepared and neither were the unsuspecting Texans.
The power outages left millions of Texans without electricity and some without water as well. Some of the larger areas like Dallas saw temperatures of -2F and others saw temperatures fall to -23F. San Antonio had 107.5 hours of below freezing temperatures.
While Texans were freezing to death and trying to salvage food and water, Gov. Abbott was on Fox News blaming the New Green Deal, climate change policies that Texas Republicans have kept out of Texas. However, it was a great talking point for Republicans and their supporters who don't read or research facts. The truth to the matter is that Texas runs mostly on fossil fuels which are gas and coal. During the year 2019, half of the electricity came from natural gas, wind and coal supplied 20%.
Gov. Abbott said, "Tragic doesn't even begin to describe the suffering that Texans have gone through" and blamed ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
When the storm was over, Texans were not only trying to restock their pantries, they were hit with electricity bills in the thousands of dollars.
Winter is just around the corner and Texas is no more ready for it now than they were in 2020.
ERCOT & Gov. Abbott, greed and the blame game
The Texas grid, is its own separate grid. Why? Because by doing so, they are not subject to Federal regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Thereby, enters ERCOT, whose job is basically to monitor that electricity keeps flowing through Texas. They oversee systems in place to buy competitive electricity. They failed in the winter of 2020.
With fuels freezing during the winter storm, Texas had to purchase additional power from outside electric companies. They threw out the competitive part of their responsibility and chose greed. The average price for power was $22 per megawatt hour prior to the storm, but when it became an urgent necessity, they bought it at $9000 per megawatt hour.
The members of ERCOT are power providers, investors and utility companies. Like "the fox guarding the hen house", they could easily make money from their positions. While ERCOT is a non-profit organization some members receive salaries from $82K to $92K a year.
In 2001, the media praised ERCOT for its achievements. Since 1995 Texas had completed or had under construction a total of 45 plants. Giving the state a 15 percent power surplus. But for years some areas have still suffered with rising electricity bills.
Past history of ERCOT has shown that it is possible to corrupt the organization. In June of 2005, 5 former top officials of ERCOT were indicted on charges of stealing $2 million by creating shell consulting and security companies. The shell companies billed ERCOT for time, services and equipment that was never provided.
ERCOT is also financed through a fee on Texans electricity bills, making the average Texas users a financing entity without representation.
Since the winter storm, Gov. Abbott has tried to put the blame on ERCOT for the disaster, even calling for an investigation.
What came to light is how the system works and the buck stops with the state government through the states Public Utilities Commission (PUC) who regulates ERCOT. The PUC board is appointed by Gov. Abbott and they answer to the Texas legislature.
An outside investigation by ProPublica found that Texas regulators and lawmakers knew about the issue for years. They overlooked them so that electricity providers could avoid expensive changes.
While ERCOT may have a history of internal issues, the overall lack of governance by Texas regulators and lawmakers are the culprits behind the disaster of the Texas winter storm of 2020.
Preparing for winter or building a wall?
On March of 2021, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that $29 million in unpaid electric bills would be forgiven by Griddy Energy who was overcharging customers; they could do this because they were filing for bankruptcy to avoid having to pass on the debt to their customers.
By May of 2021, Texas lawmakers are still discussing a $2.5 billion plan to bail out Texas' distressed electricity market. The conclusion, the Texas house approves fees on electric companies can be passed on to their customers. They don't know how much it will cost them or how long they will have to be paying them. The nearest estimate is 10 to 20 years or maybe longer.
The money men call it a "financial crisis". James Schaefer, a managing director at Guggenheim Partners and an investment banker said, "it's horrible that a bunch of folks have to pay, but its a system wide failure". What he doesn't say is that the failure was created by Texas' own government representatives and that the hard working Texans will be paying for their greed; when he spoke before the House State Affairs Commission.
HB4492 Passed the Texas House and a similar bill is advancing in the senate. If approved by the Senate and Gov. Abbott signs the bill, the newly created Texas Electric Securitization Corp will use the money to pay off companies debt, this would only cover defaulted debt.
June 2021- Gov. Abbott was asked about the winter storm and he said "it has been taken care of, I signed a bill".
Gov. Abbott has moved on because he's taking care of the corporations to make sure they don't lose any money, but he mentions nothing of updated plans to prepare for the upcoming winter and what will be done to insure that Texans won't be without power again.
Gov. Abbott has more pressing issues, like building a border wall. Late June, he announced that he would build his own border wall and asked other Republican states to send people to the Texas border to help secure it.
What he didn't say was who was going to pay for it, he didn't have a plan, or so he said. Then he said he had one plan so far, to solicit donations from across the country. How apropos, he said this on a podcast called "Ruthless". He continued that the money he would collect would go directly to his office. The man that lies as much as Trump says, "there will be great transparency".
Within days of this great announcement, Texans were asked to scale back on electrical usage. They were asked to keep their air conditioning at 78 degrees, wash clothes once a week, turn off lights, computers, etc. because they are already experiencing rolling black outs to conserve energy.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2021 is looking to be a hotter and drier climate. How hot can it get, in the last couple of days it's been over 100 degrees. Gov. Abbott and the Texas Republican's have said it hasn't gotten this hot this early in the year. Maybe they need to be reminded.
Some Texas history:
June 26, 1980- 113 degrees
June 27, 1980- 113 degrees
June 28, 1980- 117 degrees
June 27, 1994- 116 degrees
June 28- 1994- 120 degrees
June 30- 1994- 114 degrees
July 23, 2018- 114 degrees
Gov. Abbott and the Republicans have solved the financial crisis for the gas providers and electric companies, they've chosen to move on to political propaganda on the Texas border.
Winter is coming and the people of Texas have not forgotten that while Texas said there were about 100 people that died during the winter storm, the facts point to the numbers being over 200 and possible closer to 700 lives lost. The suffering they went through in 2020 might be repeated in 2021, how much more will they have to pay for both financially as well as enduring another winter storm without the support of the Texas government?
Gov. Abbott and the Republicans have been in control of Texas for decades, Texans have endured much, but the winter storm may be the straw that breaks that camels back.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Lady Liberty