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US Texas outages shed light on a different kind of infrastructure: Human

03:10  26 february  2021
03:10  26 february  2021 Source:   thehill.com

Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages

  Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages Even mighty Texas, the energy powerhouse of America, is feeling the wrath of Mother Nature. © Matthew Busch/Bloomberg/Getty Images Pump jacks operate in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas, U.S, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The arctic freeze gripping the central U.S. is raising the specter of power outages in Texas and ratcheting up pressure on energy prices already trading at unprecedented levels. Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images A deep freeze this week in the Lone Star state, which relies on electricity to heat many homes, is causing power demand to skyrocket.

Some of the warmest places in Texas , where rolling power outages are occurring across the chilly state, are inside cars and trucks parked in the driveway of a home without electricity.

The worst power outages were in Texas , where more than 4m homes and businesses remained without power on Tuesday in subfreezing temperatures. Elsewhere more than 250,000 people also lost power across parts of Appalachia, and 4 million people lost power in Mexico. Officials in Texas have faced criticism as the state energy grid repeatedly failed, forcing rolling blackouts. As utilities attempted to restore power to homes that lacked it while offices in downtown Houston remained lit up, the Harris county judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in the city, told the Guardian: “History is going to

Disasters have a way of shining a spotlight on the deferred maintenance of critical infrastructure.

a metal fence: Texas outages shed light on a different kind of infrastructure: Human © Getty Images Texas outages shed light on a different kind of infrastructure: Human

These are often well-known problems that, for financial, political, or other reasons, are left to fester until they boil over into the headlines. The widespread utility outages across Texas are the most recent example.

The vulnerabilities of Texas's power grid were well-documented, but without investment in maintenance and upgrades millions of families are now burning their furniture for heat and boiling water to drink.

Texas, parts of South brace for next round of winter weather

  Texas, parts of South brace for next round of winter weather More freezing rain and snow were forecast in Texas and large parts of the South as they work to dig out from earlier storms."All leaders in the state of Texas are working around the clock to get that power restored," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth on Tuesday, the same day he called for an investigation into the outages.

The Sheriff of Jackson Country in Texas is firing shots at the Biden Administration this week, and he's hammering them for releasing illegals into the state without Covid tests. Monday night on Tucker Carlson he said that it was "absolutely true" that the Biden Administration was releasing illegals into Comment: The whole Corona madness has been cruelly used and exaggerated by different powerful interest groups for their own agendas. How long this madness will last probably depends on how much normal people's lives will deteriorate because of all these inhuman, illogical, tyrannical, and harmful

There have been widespread blackouts in Texas , where the energy grid was overwhelmed by a surge in demand. Millions of people in the state, which rarely experiences such low temperatures, have been struggling to cope with the lack of power and frigid conditions. The extreme weather is forecast to continue until the weekend. A senior director for Ercot - the Electric Reliability Council of Texas - told CNN on Wednesday that Texans could continue to experience rotating power outages into Thursday. Rotating outages are the "best case" scenario, Dan Woodfin said.

Rather than just plug the few holes that can easily be blamed for this disaster, such a disaster should spur us to truly invest not only in our physical infrastructure, but our human infrastructure as well.

Policymakers often limit their definition of critical infrastructure to the physical structures, but in reality, critical infrastructure includes people - often low-wage workers who care for us and keep our economy moving.

These "maintainers" tend to earn above the Federal Poverty Level but still not enough to make ends meet. We call them ALICE - Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - and they constitute a large part of our population. According to our recently published report, 42 percent of U.S. households could not afford even basics like housing, food, and health care in 2018 - before the pandemic hit.

As millions remain without power amid more snow and ice, blame and questions mount

  As millions remain without power amid more snow and ice, blame and questions mount Water supplies in several Texas cities are at risk, officials said, and it could be days or weeks until power is restored. More than 100 million people live in areas of the country under some kind of winter weather warning, the National Weather Service said in an advisory Wednesday, with more bad weather to come.

Texas power grid operator ERCOT warned Sunday of an "energy emergency" and threatened "rotating outages ." By Monday morning (0125 local time), ERCOT began "rotating outages " to "reduce demand on the electric system." It continued: "Traffic lights and other infrastructure may be temporary Temperatures across Texas and the central US are expected to be well below normal through the end of the week. ERCOT's decision to implement rolling power outages comes after we first warned of an imminent grid crisis on Thursday, when we reported that natgas prices across the plains states had

Texas operator admits that the state's power grid was minutes from collapse during Winter Storm Uri that brought subfreezing temperatures and cut power to up to 4.3 million Texans . Bill Magness, ERCOT's chief executive said Wednesday that the grid operator came close to losing control of the system through the night on February 15. Magness explained that the winter storm caused the grid's operating frequency to fall to dangerous levels, which prompted ERCOT to try and stabilize it. In an bid to stabilize the grid, the company ordered the state’s electricity providers to cut 5 gigawatts of power

They are grocery store cashiers earning $11.37 per hour, pharmacy technicians earning $16.32 per hour, and more. None of them earn enough to afford household basics for a family of four - and these economic struggles long predate COVID-19. A little over a year ago these workers were largely invisible in the American economic narrative, now we recognize their essential role in our society.

Texas' deep freeze has thawed and the pandemic will pass, but their economic destruction - including job insecurity, unemployment, and emaciated state budgets - will affect us for years to come. And because we have spent decades thinly patching holes in an economic system in need of serious investment, our economic infrastructure is not robust enough to drive a post-COVID recovery - or weather the next inevitable disaster.

So how can America grow stronger? Going back to the pre-COVID-19 status quo, in which nearly half of U.S. households and many of our essential workers were already struggling, cannot be the goal. The recovery needs to restructure our economy so that it prioritizes the economic security, health, and safety of all people.

Winter storms devastate US after a year of Covid lockdown -- and it's nowhere near over

  Winter storms devastate US after a year of Covid lockdown -- and it's nowhere near over There is no fine time for a devastating barrage of winter storms, but it's hard to imagine the weather icing over much of the United States coming at a less opportune moment. © THOMAS SHEA/AFP/Getty Images Customers wait in line to enter Frontier Fiesta on February 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas. - A winter storm has caused rolling black-outs through out the Houston and the surrounding areas for the past 48 hours.

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Breaking news, multiple strange power outages are occurring across the land. Tags: strange power outage , East Texas Power Outage , SWEP Co, South West Power Company, Eastman plant fire, CBP massive power outages , incident at AEP SWEP co plant, Duke power outages , 1,000 outages in Greenville county, Charlotte power outage , Randolph county power outage , attacks on power grid, substation fires, Grid, massive power outage , electrical grid collapse, grid collapse, power grid failure, power outage

History provides much-needed guidance of how we can achieve President Biden's mission to "Build Back Better."

The Homestead Act of 1862 granted instant economic standing to white men and their families who settled the Western frontier. Reimagined for the 21st Century, it could build wealth through baby bonds, access to low-interest mortgages, and small business support.

FDR's Depression era programs like the Works Progress Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority collectively built schools, dams, and roads, created national parks, and electrified the south. Unleashing that spirit and those resources today can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure while providing universal broadband that allows everyone to capitalize on the technology of the 21st century.

And a repurposed GI Bill, which gave rise to widespread homeownership and education for millions of Americans returning from World War II, could ensure our workforce is equipped to run the most technologically advanced infrastructure, and be able to afford safe housing where those jobs are located.

Texas' woes foreshadows future climate-change disasters

  Texas' woes foreshadows future climate-change disasters Hot-weather infrastructure and an isolated power grid have left the state unprepared for extreme weather.The storm, which froze nuclear facilities, coal and gas power stations, and wind turbines, offers a cautionary tale of how extreme weather can paralyze critical energy facilities and throw vast swaths of country into chaos. Across the U.S., experts says, states like Texas are largely unprepared for a range of climate emergencies, from Arctic-like cold in warmer regions to widespread flooding, droughts, wildfires and other symptoms of a rapidly heating planet.

Beyond an adaptation to contemporary circumstances, any reimagining of these programs must address the structural racism inherent in their first iterations. At times through legislation, and almost always through practice, these programs discriminated against non-white persons in a way that created a self-perpetuating wealth gap between White Americans and their Black and Hispanic counterparts. A 21st century investment in human infrastructure must not only be cognizant of avoiding these mistakes, but it must seek to reverse the racial disparities in income, wealth, and health created through government edict.

We welcome short-term relief for those struggling during these harrowing days; but we cannot continue to defer maintenance and increase risk for American workers and families. We have a chance to recommit to our shared values - that our country is strongest when all workers can support their households and when all households are healthy and safe. Our communities all benefit if everyone's work receives the recognition, protection, and security it deserves.

Dan Treglia, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and a Senior Research Fellow at United for ALICE. Jessica Meyerson, MS, is co-director of The Maintainers and Director of Research and Strategy at Educopia Institute. She just regained power in Austin, Texas.

Opinion: What's happening in Texas and Mississippi has to stop .
Peniel Joseph says the winter storm aftermath in Texas and Mississippi that has disproportionately hit Black and Latinx communities and left many still without access to clean water is one facet of a decades-long national crisis of race and democracy.The historic winter storm that crippled Texas during the third week of February spotlighted the Lone Star State's pervasive history of structural racism. Similarly, it revealed how seemingly universal crises, such as climate change and catastrophes sometimes referred to as "acts of God" affect some communities much more severely than others.

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This is interesting!