A number of stories are circulating that, within the midst of a disaster that’s rattling his state, America’s favourite zodiac killer suspect has determined this is able to be a good time to sip umbrella drinks and catch some rays on a Cancun seaside. Nevertheless, as of 9AM ET, this story stays unconfirmed. It was damaged on Wednesday night by former MSNBC anchor David Schuster, whose final huge breaking information story was how Hillary Clinton was going to get replaced on the 2016 Democratic ticket. Schuster additionally mentioned that Chelsea Clinton had been “pimped out” to superdelegates. So … hold that in thoughts. Cruz’s workplace hasn’t denied the journey, which may imply he’s positively in Cancun. It may additionally imply he’s positively hiding in a closet so he can leap out and scream “faux information!”
Although, significantly, it appears like Ted Cruz went to Cancun.
But when Cruz may escape the coolness to simply … chill, he’s positively one of many fortunate few. As a result of many in Texas at the moment are wrestling with the outcomes of a chilly snap mixed with a blackout. The mixed results of which embrace issues like this:
That’s only one instance of the small-scale disasters going through many households this morning that come from a mixture of a utility mannequin that maximizes revenue by selling shortages, and a development mannequin that minimizes prices by permitting builders to skip out on issues like insulation.
It’s not simply houses. Provide traces in cities and cities are sometimes buried simply inches under the bottom once they’re buried in any respect, giving removed from satisfactory safety to municipal water provides. Simply consider Texas as a kind of corporations that proudly brags about its “six sigma” effectivity, with out mentioning that to get there it lower each attainable nook. Together with any means to answer a disruption in regular situations.
Then, on high of the darkish, and the chilly, and the dearth of water, and the busted pipes, Texans are additionally coping with a provide chain that’s breaking down, leaving some areas wanting meals. Because the Texas Tribune stories, shops in Texas have needed to throw out frozen meals in large quantities. Although some shops have backup energy, that energy is designed round outages that may final hours, not days. Some shops have been working cash-only gross sales carried out from traces of coolers and introducing Texans to the fun of meals rationing.
All of this won’t appear fairly so painful if it wasn’t additionally completely predictable. Not solely did forecasters give the state an advance warning of the arctic blast about to hit this week, however a assessment of previous disasters made it clear that Texas was not prepared for an occasion that was useless sure to come back. As Bloomberg stories, the Federal Power Regulatory Fee and the North America Electrical Reliability Company each ready stories following a chilly entrance that plunged the state into blackouts again in February 2011. That occasion triggered devices and pipelines at gasoline and coal vegetation to freeze. The state noticed 4 days of in depth rolling blackouts, and it did so at a time when wind was barely a blip in Texas’ vitality combine.
And 2011 was removed from the primary. One of many largest conclusions was that utilities had did not act on the suggestions of a report issued after a 1989 occasion that additionally generated systemwide rolling blackouts in response to a number of days of chilly climate. The 1989 report gave suggestions that weren’t adopted by 2011. And no shock, that 2011 report generated suggestions which have nonetheless not been adopted in 2020.
That’s as a result of Texas’ ERCOT system is optimized to generate revenue, not vitality safety. It doesn’t reward utilities for taking steps to safeguard energy in an emergency. It definitely doesn’t present any incentive to generate extra energy than is important. Actually, one of the best ways to sport the system for max revenue is usually by benefiting from value spikes generated by means of shortages. Some installations have been capable of generate more profit on Monday and Tuesday alone than they might have gained by means of a complete 12 months of regular operation.
A 100-megawatt wind farm within the state that may have usually made virtually $40,000 over a two-day interval in February may reap greater than $9.5 million on Monday and Tuesday alone, Nicholas Steckler, a power-markets analyst at Bloomberg NEF, mentioned.
$10 billion price of electrical energy was bought on Monday—two orders of magnitude higher than regular—at a time when thousands and thousands of individuals within the state have been with out energy. And all of that occurred with out a single main energy line coming down.
Nobody ought to actually be shocked. That is, in any case, the state the place chemical plants just keep exploding, despite the fact that it has happened before. And before. The Houston space alone has had not less than five chemical explosions simply since 2019. As a result of Texas is a big experiment in reducing corners for revenue.
To not fear, Texans: Rick Perry says you prefer it this manner. As The Houston Chronicle stories, “Texans can be with out electrical energy for longer than three days to maintain the federal authorities out of their enterprise,” mentioned Perry. After which, in good Rick Perryese, he mentioned, “Attempt to not let regardless of the disaster of the day is take your eye off of getting a resilient grid that retains America secure personally, economically, and strategically.” Which means that having a grid that works nicely in a disaster means it’s not resilient? Possibly we simply have to get more fusion reactors.
Within the meantime, Texans must accept the generators, water, and blankets being despatched by President Biden. Who doesn’t even appear to have required Gov. Greg Abbott to sing his praises earlier than serving to.