My Warm and Friendly State Left Many Cold and Lonely Last Week
Texas pride is a thing, a huge thing. Most of us Texans love our state more than life itself and with good reason. We’re one of the few states that had to fight tooth and nail for our freedom from another country AND we were even our own country for a moment. Of course we celebrate that and take HUGE pride in who we are.
But last week’s freeze left us feeling cold and confused over the handling of the power grid. The deep freeze brought snow, ice, and temperatures in the teens. For us Texans who live and thrive in 100+ degree weather, we were NOT prepared for this. Our homes are built to release heat and keep us cool in our regular temperatures, our cars don’t have chains, and most of our homes don’t have fireplaces.
Many of us went and bought enough food and supplies to get us through a few days of ice, but we had NO IDEA we needed to prepare to not have power or water for a week. As the temperatures began to plummet in the entire state, ERCOT released a statement saying energy needed to be conserved because the power grid just couldn’t handle the current load. Rolling blackouts would begin for households all over the state. For many, this meant having power in their houses only every other hour, but for others this meant having no power at all that entire week.
We were told the rollouts wouldn’t last long, but as the days went by it was evident that most of the state would be without power for a full week. Deaths began to increase not just from hypothermia, but also from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. People were getting desperate to find ways to keep them and their families warm, and this sometimes meant risky methods such as sleeping inside a running car, or running a generator inside the house. Freezing temperatures with no heat meant busted pipes and displaced families with nowhere to go as every hotel was booked.
Texans were beginning to run out of options and it seemed our government and ERCOT were to blame. Many in the government blamed ERCOT for refusing to learn from winter storms in the past decades and winterizing the systems. Republicans blamed wind turbines and other natural sources of energy as the issue and Democrats blamed the lack of a New Green Deal. Every side, so focused on blaming the other, they forgot about what truly mattered: Taking care of their people.
Here’s the thing about us Texans, we are resilient and we get through tough times with the help of each other. I saw so much love from our neighborhood as the elderly were checked up on, Jeep clubs volunteered to drive others out for supplies, and those with power opened up their homes for food and showers to those who had neither. Texas, I know we are going to be okay, but it’s time for answers and solutions. Democrats and Republicans get it together and find a common ground to ensure this NEVER happens again. This wasn’t a partisan issue, it was a Texan issue and we demand and deserve better.