Watchman:”Texas Remember 3 Years After Tragic 2021’s Uri Storm Blackout”

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By Maryon Suzuki,


Texas remember 3 years after tragic 2021’s Uri storm blackout

On a day like today but three years ago, in the middle of February 2021, Texas was caught in one of the strongest and most comprehensive cold storms in its history. The entire state was covered in snow and rolling electrical outages complicated the situation. If that wasn't enough, electricity began to fail more and more until a vast majority of the population was without the essential services. A survey by the University of Houston revealed that 69% of the state's residents experienced power loss, while about 49% faced disruptions in water service.

The traumatic event left an official death toll of 246, although there are versions that the deaths were many more. Large numbers of lives were seriously affected and economic losses were estimated at more than $200-300 billion, according to this 2022 study by the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

This disaster underscored the vulnerabilities in Texas' energy infrastructure and highlighted the interconnectivity of the state's economy, posing challenges that required immediate and long-term responses. The way in which the event affected citizens ranged from homes burned or ruined by weather conditions to sky-high energy bills that arrived after the storm, based on contracts that allowed companies to raise prices unlimitedly depending on demand.

Three years after the tragic event, opinions about concrete improvements and the power grid's strength are sharply divided. On the one hand, the power system - managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) - has held up favorably to all-time power demand records during last August. On the other hand, many people still cannot recover from the consequences caused by the widespread blackout, and experts say there is still much to be done to address the underlying power line problems in Texas.

Beyond this important debate, it is key that society in Texas (and across the country) can be informed about how to help from their place so that this does not happen again. And above all, be prepared for any eventuality.

How to Prepare for a Power Grid Emergency

Here are some ways to prevent and respond to a Power Outage, according to information compiled by Ladybug Energy in commemoration of the three-year anniversary of the Uri Winter Storm.

1. Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit

It should include:

  • Essential, non-perishable food that requires no refrigeration or cooking.

  • Manual can openers.

  • Pet food, if necessary.

  • Plenty of safe drinking water.

  • Battery powered flashlights and radios, with extra batteries.

  • First aid kit.

  • If you or your family have any medical conditions, it’s essential to have surplus medicine.

  • A reserve of cash.

  • Paper copy of your main contact list.

2. Weatherize the house

  • Insulate Your Exposed Water Pipes, the home’s attic, walls, and floors.

  • Consider installing Energy-Efficient Windows.

  • Incorporate LED Lighting, Smart Thermostat and Energy-Efficient Appliances. Programmable Power Strips are also a smart choice.

  • Seal Leaks.

  • If feasible, install solar panels or home-adapted wind turbines.

  • Regularly maintain your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as household appliances.

3. If an Electrical Outage occurs

  • Stay calm in order to think clearly.

  • Unplug appliances and electronic devices and minimize the use.

  • Store water in bathtubs as a reserve. You can use this to flush your toilet, or for other needs.

  • If it’s an extreme cold storm and your water pipes are exposed, identify the location of your primary water valve and shut off your water supply (since water expands in the pipes and can break them).

  • Preserve Heat by closing off unused rooms, dressing in layers, and using blankets.

  • Check on Neighbors, especially those who are elderly, have young children, or have special needs.

  • It is not recommended to use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home, due to carbon monoxide poisoning risk. If you do, use carbon monoxide detectors.

  • If you have a generator operate exclusively outside, at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and attached garages.

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