With Power Restored, Texans Now Dealing with Damage Caused by ERCOT Power Outage
After days of blackouts caused by the failure to adequately oversee the Texas energy grid, power has finally been restored to the Lone Star State.
Millions of Texans are now able to finally assess the damage caused by the statewide outages, and what they’re finding is substantial. For many, the financial fallout from broken water pipes and other blackout-induced destruction will likely be devastating. For others, the loss is far worse, as they mourn the loss of family members and children who tragically died hypothermia, burns, and other preventable causes.
The Damage Caused by the Texas Power Outages is Estimated to be the Largest Insurance Company Loss In History
“It’s clearly going to be a very costly event given the historic scope, intensity, and duration of the cold wave,” Adam Smith, an applied climatologist with a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Austin American Statesman. “This impact is compounded due to the large cities and populations that were affected.”
Hurricanes are usually the most expensive weather-related disasters to hit Texas. But insurance industry experts are warning that the price tag for the winter weather catastrophe could equal Hurricane Harvey in 2017 — which resulted in $19 billion in insured losses in Texas and was the costliest storm in the state’s history.
The winter storm that hit Texas last week would have been bad enough on its own. But the damage was only made worse by the large-scale blackouts that plagued the state for days. Now many residents must contend with flooding, soggy carpets, and soaked drywall that occurred after frozen water pipes ruptured in their homes. Adding insult to injury, much of the damage could have been prevented and was the direct result of the state’s unregulated and poorly managed power grid.
How ERCOT and Texas Power Companies Let Texans Down
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, was formed to manage the state’s wholesale energy market. The non-profit agency gives providers wide latitude when it comes to disaster planning and has long refused to enforce a “reserve margin” of extra power available above expected demand. Without adequate reserves, the Texas energy grid could not meet demand when temperatures plummeted last Monday – the coldest day on record in the state’s history.
ERCOT also doesn’t require private power companies to weatherize their equipment to protect against extremely frigid temperatures. Without those precautions, much of the state’s energy infrastructure froze in the cold and was unable to deliver what little power there was.
At Least 55 Texans Tragically Died Preventable Deaths As a Result of Hypothermia, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, and Burns
In some parts of Texas, the wait for plumbers has already stretched into April. To speed up repairs, state officials are working to bring in plumbers from other states, granting provisional licenses, and waiving fees. Some blackout victims are looking at thousands of dollars in new repairs after having just settled their Hurricane Harvey insurance claims.
“I can deal with the damage. That can be fixed,” one Houston-area resident told CBS news. “But another three-and-a-half-year battle with the insurance company, I don’t have that in me.”
The storm’s human toll has been even worse, with at least 55 weather-related deaths reported across the state. Dozens died from preventable causes hypothermia after spending hours and even days in unheated homes. Other carbon monoxide poisoning that occurred when victims turned to stoves, gas grills, and vehicles to warm up or heat their homes.
Many of those deaths could have been avoided had officials known the outages would last for days. Instead, ERCOT only warned of the potential for rolling blackouts.
“We would have been happy to order an evacuation if we’d been told Sunday the power was going to go out and stay out for four days,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry told The New York Times, adding that the county is more accustomed to ordering evacuations in advance of hurricanes.
If You or a Loved One Were Injured or Suffered Extensive Property Damage from the Texas Power Outages, Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult with Our Undefeated Texas Personal Injury Lawyers
Our Undefeated Texas Personal Injury Lawyers continue to monitor the fallout from the ERCOT blackouts and will post additional updates as new information becomes available.
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