No electricity, no water: Texas shivers of freezing cold

Picture source: NBC

-By Bharat Sharma
Million of residents in Texas have been warned of “disaster within disaster” due to historic cold weather that left them without power and water for third day on Wednesday.  Officials asked residents to prepare themselves as energy may not return until the weekend.

Residents of around 100 counties in Texas were told to boil their drinking water as water treatment plant has been suffering from energy blackout. Around 12 million people are left with no drinking water on their taps as energy remains out for 2.7 million households as per the officials.

Hindustan Times reported 40 percent of the state’s power generating capacity has been lost which includes natural gas wells and pipelines, wind turbines due to frozen shut. Around two dozen deaths have been reported and Hospitals in Houston seems to have no water available. As per the officials many more have died but the bodies are yet to be recovered.

Residents have also been cautioned on Wednesday to prepare themselves for another round of freezing rain and snow in next 24 hours.

Picture source: Al Jazeera

Texas power generating capacity?

Texas has power generating capacity of about 67,000 megawatts in winter as against 86,000 in the summer. Experts say they did not presume that this winter temperature would go could enough to freeze the natural gas supply lines and cease wind turbines from stop spinning. 28,000 megawatt of power was not generated through natural gas, coal and nuclear plants and 18,000 from wind and solar as per Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), The Times of India reported.

“Every one of our sources of power supply underperformed. Every one of them is vulnerable to extreme weather and climate events in different ways. None of them were adequately weatherized or prepared for a full realm of weather and conditions,” tweeted Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston.

Governor blames ERCOT

Governor Greg Abbott in a news conference said he expected a nuclear plant to return online by Wednesday night. The plant along with coal-fired plants could provide enough power for 4,00,000 homes.

Abbott also blamed ERCOT saying they are the experts and engineers in the power industry and this was total failure by ERCOT. They are not bureaucrat and government rely on them to deliver in such situation, CNN reported.

ERCOT said it hopes that customers soon will have to cope with short power outages. “The best case at this point is that today or tomorrow we’re able to at least get back down to the point where all the consumers are experiencing outages that are no longer than 30 minutes to an hour at a time,” Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s senior director of system operations, told a briefing.

With inputs from The Times of India, Hindustan Times, CNN