(DailyDig.com) – Texas faced a freak winter storm in February 2021. Snow, ice, and record low temperatures left more than 69% of the state’s residents without electrical power, sometimes for hours or days at a time. State lawmakers responded by asking officials to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees the state’s power grid and services, accusing it of being anything but reliable.
Now, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Director John Moura warns that extreme weather this winter could have a catastrophic effect on the grid.
A group that oversees the reliability of the nation’s electrical sector says Texas is again at risk of blackouts this winter if it gets hit with extreme weather like the catastrophic February storm that buckled the state’s electricity grid. https://t.co/FJmscyULor
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 19, 2021
Moura’s warning came just as Governor Greg Abbott expressed confidence that power would remain on in Texas throughout the winter.
NERC’s projections suggest that if another severe winter storm hits Texas, electricity demand will rise sharply. That would immediately trigger a 40% shortfall, exceeding available reserves. While Moura says this scenario is improbable, he won’t rule it out, either.
Damages from February’s storm caused between $80 billion to $130 billion in financial losses, supply chain disruptions, agricultural failures, and widespread infrastructure damage. An estimated 210 residents tragically lost their lives. If another critical storm hits Texas this year, costs and associated losses will likely skyrocket.
While federal officials are asking power providers to strategize for a sudden increase in demand, there are ways homeowners can prepare for future storms. Home improvements, such as insulation, draft-proof windows, storm doors, and weather-resistant roofs can help ward off the worst effects. Stocking up on bottled water, high-protein/high-fiber non-perishable foods, blankets, socks, batteries, flashlights, and at least one weather radio is also wise.
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