With temperatures steadily rising now, it is almost unbelievable to think just a week ago, the State of Texas was put on ice. What began as an exciting late snowfall not seen in a very long time, became a living nightmare for millions of Texans. Many woke up the next day to find their electricity was out, and city by city the power outages began to spread all over Texas. Some expressed their concerns on Facebook, but many families trusted their power would come back on within hours. Sadly, they were wrong.

Story By G. Jimenez


As temperatures plunged some Texas residents continued to be without power for days. The situation became increasingly worse as boil water notices were placed in multiple cities due to lack of water pressure, leaving Fort Worth residents without clean water.

            And, while cities opened warming centers for those without power, friends and family began opening their doors and turning their own homes into shelters as well. Some Texas residents quickly searched for a warm shelter; others chose to tough it out at home. 

One Houston, Texas resident was taken by surprise when the power outage hit her neighborhood. To add to the confusion, her mother who lives in Lubbock, TX where temperatures dropped well below zero still had all of her power. But surviving the harsh temperatures was not difficult for the Houston resident. She described her husband’s encouragement, “…I need to get a little uncomfortable once and a while. He kept telling me I need to be hard”. They used layers of blankest, sleeping bags, cooked on cast iron skillets, and utilized makeup removing wipes to stay as clean as possible. But the couple kept a positive attitude despite not having electricity for 4 days and even continued their daily workout regimens. But some residents were not as prepared as in Fort Worth. Daisy Rodriguez experienced the loss of water and electricity. And when it was time to find a warm place for her and her family, all of the gas stations had run out of gasoline and other stations had unbearably long lines. Even the warm food at the surrounding convenient stores was running low. Luckily, she was only without power for two days. But the deadly winter blast would not end without taking the young life of 11-year-old Cristian Pineda. February 16, Pineda was sharing a bed with his 3-year-old brother tucked under a pile of blankets to keep warm. But the next morning, when his stepfather went to wake him, he was unresponsive. The young boy passed away in his sleep from suspected hyperthermia.


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            Now the snow has melted, many are wanting answers. How could such a horrible disaster happen? Some republicans immediately placed blame on “Green Energy” which sparked outrage as those statements were a clear ruse to place blame on Democrats. To find the true and correct answers about this massive failure, we must do as our fathers and follow the money. Texas often relishes in its Free-Market Economy and has been a haven from economic struggles often suffered by the rest of the country. We also tend to enjoy a lower cost of living in general. Especially compared to other states like California, where the housing costs alone is an extreme difference. But despite the name, a “Free Market” can be at a devastating cost. Cutting corners to increase revenue left energy facilities under-invested and ill-prepared for severe winter weather. Almost every power source in Texas was not nearly funded enough to power through freezing temperatures, wind turbines were not moving, and power plants were suffering. But not every Texas city felt the impact of deregulated power grids.

            El Paso didn’t experience power outages at the same magnitude. El Paso Electric spokesperson Eddie Gutierrez explained to El Paso TV station KTSM that “only 875 customers were impacted by an outage of less than five minutes”. The reason is, El Paso chose not to join the rest of the state by handing over its power to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which covers 90% of the state. El Paso originally had a local power grid but a major increase in population in the 60’s forced them to look for a more sustainable power source. So, El Paso joined the western power grid.

Many Texans are now questioning the integrity of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and place the blame on Governor Gregg Abbot for allowing an imperative service like electricity function with no rules or regulations. And now the family of 11-year-old Cristian Pineda hit Texas power providers Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Entergy Corporation with a $100 million lawsuit accusing them of gross negligence. Texas lawmakers like State Representative District 90 Ramon Romero who was without power himself for over two days went to social media to demand an investigation into the electricity crisis.

Did greed lead Texans into a dark winter? Or was it just simple arrogance to the severity of weather to come? While we wait for answers, we can take comfort knowing we can surely count on our friends and neighbors to take care of each other when times get tough.  

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