Texas Freeze Reveals Frozen Policies

It’s not supposed to get this cold in Texas, but it did. Now what?

Steve Jones


North Texas supermarket with empty shelves during Winter Storm Uri. (Author’s photo)

February 2021 has been a disaster for Texas. Winter storm Uri rolled through on February 11, bringing ice, sleet, snow and sub-freezing temperatures clear to the Gulf of Mexico. The freezing weather first caused a 100-car pileup in north Fort Worth that left six people dead, then it crippled power and water lines throughout most of the state. At this writing, some people have been without power, heat, and water for at least a week.

Some people have frozen to death in their homes.

And while Uri brought the arctic weather, something more nefarious caused the infrastructural damage and death — political malfeasance.

My family and I did not lose power during the winter siege, and we didn’t lose water until late in the week. By then the snow was thawing and we were able to catch snowmelt in buckets to use for flushing toilets. A couple of raids on Albertson’s and Home Depot got us enough drinking water to make it through the water stoppage. (Well, that remains to be seen.)

Supermarket shelves have been empty as stores faced broken water lines, power outages, and delivery delays.

But we haven’t been in the dark, freezing in our home. Millions of Texans have. And that’s unconscionable.

I will tell you right now, I’m not very knowledgable about infrastructures. I know when the water service stops; I know when I flip a switch and lights don’t come on; I know when chunks of pavement fall out of bridges. Like most people, I can tell when something doesn’t work.

I’ve lived here for 24 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of something called ERCOT — the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The name itself is now a mockery. Reliability? Come on.

Here’s ERCOT’s search engine blurb: “The Electric Reliability Council of Texas operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state.” Well, 75% is about how much of the state lost power. Note that one scary word in the blurb — deregulated.

ERCOT is really Texas’ attempt to maintain some type of misguided isolationism from the rest of the country…