For some, the idea of a Texas snowstorm was a whimsical, almost funny one, with some folks complaining about the over-preparedness of others, all while employees complained that the “snow day” was already lined up with President’s Day, making it a wasted opportunity for a day off.
But those merry and jovial sentiments were soon rendered tone deaf as an arctic blast lashed the Lone Star State. Not only was it bitterly cold, (5 degrees in Austin on Monday morning), but the plan to utilize “rolling blackouts” to conserve the integrity of the energy grid failed miserably. Now, as temperatures remain in the single digits in some places, major energy companies are unable to power back up, and these “rolling” blackouts have lasted for up to 10 hours.
Texas power providers and the council that manages power flow in the state are facing national criticism after thousands of customers in the Austin area spent hours without power during this historic winter storm.
Area providers Austin Energy, Oncor and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, trended nationally on Twitter, with many critical of the preparations and response to the unprecedented weather conditions.
The planned blackouts did not go as planned. Instead of being rolling blackouts, the outages have lasted hours.
Citizens were furious.
“My understanding is that the blackouts are because of that concept, that it was to be a rolling blackout,” Travis County Judge Andy Brown told KXAN. Brown did the live interview from his car to stay warm because the power had gone out in his home.
“That’s what they did in my neighborhood. And then the power situation was so grave at the state level that they weren’t able to follow through on that plan for some reason and they weren’t able to turn some of the power back on in the way they had anticipated.”
On Twitter, the anger was palpable.
Oh, my word.
— Avery Tomasco (@averytomascowx) February 15, 2021
Sooo is austin energy reimbursing me for the groceries spoiling in my fridge rn? Bc I have the receipts
— BREEE-YUHHH (@BriaHenderson16) February 12, 2021
People are going to die in their homes due to @austinenergy's power outages. We have had no electricity for 10 hours. It is 45 degrees INSIDE. We need to have the power restored IMMEDIATELY. Our kids & pets & parents are FREEZING! This is absolutely unconscionable! @MayorAdler
— felicia weiner (@keiraryushi) February 15, 2021
The situation remains dire in Texas as of this writing.
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