Anyone in Texas? How are you holding up?

posted 2 weeks ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
810 posts
Busy bee

Not me, but I have two friends in TX.

1 – hasnt lost power but they did lose water. She was able to fill her bathtub prior to losing it so theyve been boiling and are holding up ok. Just stressed bc its hard to predict if/when they will lose/regain services.

2 – coworker who lost power for a few days. On a call a few minutes ago she said a bunch of her neighbors pipes are starting to burst so she’s really worried about that. 

Sadly we’ve spent 40 years as a society demonizing government and cutting funding. The profits we generate through taxes are handed over the the big business/extremely wealthy folks and we are not taking care of the systems that serve our communities. This is only the beginning. We have major issues with roads/bridges/water/power/cybersecurity/etc. I really hope voters wake up and demand our leaders to actually provide the funding and services people need. 

Post # 3
Member
15346 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I know it’s been hard down there, esp if no one is used to this.   But what i don’t get is how and why there was so little guidance to help people out when they all knew this was coming.  Why didn’t leaders provide some basic info – nothing propane inside to heat,  draining your pipes so they don’t freeze and burst, causing a mess and a ton to fix, etc.  I know this doesn’t help people with electric dependant life support equipment and stuff like that, but it could’ve saved a lot of people a little trouble at least. 

Post # 4
Member
1355 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2020 - Santa Barbara

View original reply
@pinkshoes:  No one was ready as they had not had temps that cold since the 1800’s. I don’t believe a lot of people took the forecast serious or had enough time to prepare for storm that huge let alone the damage it was capable of doing. 

Post # 5
Member
7581 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Elections have consequences.  I hope Texas remembers that in 2022 when the Governor is up for re-election. 

Post # 6
Member
148 posts
Blushing bee

I live in NY, and this month of February has been awful.  But I am honestly putting it in perspective when I realize what has been happening in Texas.  The suffering there is almost incomprehensible, but it was avoidable.  10 years ago, ERCOT was given recommendations to do something rather simple: winterize its infrastructure.  Something that northern states have done, which is why power plant intake pipes don’t just freeze.  There’s no excuse for that other than putting profits first.

Question is, will action be taken now, or will it be brushed aside again as “this only happens once every 10 or 20 years”?  Fact is, climate change means it will happen more often on average.  The displacement of the polar vortex (which is responsible for this brutal cold snap) happens more often with climate change.

Not to say that was the only problem.  Building codes don’t have the kind of insulation northern climes do, so there were many houses with pipes bursting.  Snow doesn’t fall that often, so Texas has very few snow plows.  (I saw a report on MSNBC the other night with a road on the Arkansas/Texas border, the Arkansas side was plowed and the Texas side wasn’t.)  Maybe time to start investing in plows too.

The other major part of the story is more political, and that’s the decision Texas made in the 1970s to isolate its grid from the rest of the nation so it wouldn’t be subject to federal regulation.  The Midwest was able to import power from the East Coast during this time, Texas couldn’t.

Post # 7
Member
1205 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1995

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@stateofbeeing:  The Midwest was able to import power from the East Coast during this time, Texas couldn’t.

This did not happen.  The majority of the Midwest gets its power from the Southern Power Pool.  SPP did not import power from the East Coast.  

Post # 8
Member
148 posts
Blushing bee

View original reply
@pinkshoes:  Honestly, and scarily, I’m not sure in this particular case whether the outcome would’ve been any different even with several days’ notice.  This is what would be said:

“Our power infrastructure, including the plants themselves, do not have winterization upgrades, so they are likely to have to be taken offline as the cold snap progresses.”

“As you may be aware, your homes and pipes don’t have the kind of insulation that protects against cold snaps like the one we’re facing.  Your homes are going to get very cold very quickly and many homes will see their pipes freeze.”

“Our power grid is not connected to the rest of the country, so we can’t import power to mitigate the enormous loss of capacity in Texas.”

“The rest of the country is dealing with winter storms of their own, so they can’t send us thousands of snow plows that would be necessary to clear the roads.  We have very few plows of our own.”

“You are likely to lose your water service for days.  When the power goes out, water providers can’t pump water.”

There’s a lot of blame to go around, but this is one of those situations in which the blame isn’t with the response to the crisis as it unfolded, it was that a series of bad decisions and inaction conspired to allow this to happen.  This happening was inevitable as soon as a cold snap and heavy snow of this magnitude came to Texas.  The only way to prevent it from happening again is to make major changes and upgrades BEFORE the next one.

Post # 9
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee

I’m in Dallas. We lost power for 48 hours and then had a pipe burst yesterday causing our garage roof to collapse. Will have to assess pool damages once it thaws:/ But, we are super lucky we had family to stay with who had power. Our homes were sooooo cold 8 hours post power out. My neighborhood’s fireplaces are electric too. Only good thing was that we had gas stoves so that was a saving grace. Glad the worst is behind us (albeit there’s a lot of repairs needed and I feel for those that are displaced and homeless suddenly due to the damages) but man we have a lot to fix here in Texas for the future. We were prepared to be snowed in but not to be snowed in without power! And now no water :/ plus all the boil water notices. It’s insane how our infrastructure totally buckled. 

Post # 10
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee

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@pinkshoes:  everyone was told to drip their pipes. Most people did. We did too. But one of our bathrooms has pipes in an exterior wall that has very little insulation and they still froze and burst! For other people, their drain pipes froze so they had to stop dripping water cause it would just collect and overflow the sink. Our houses are just straight up not built for this weather even with precautions in many situations. ESPECIALLY when you add in the fact that we couldn’t even heat our homes inside thanks to power outages. There was nothing us citizens could do about the power outages and there was little to no warning about them. We were given like a one day heads up that there might be roll out load shedding which is controlled power outages that would be 30-45 minutes max. Ended up being 24+ hours for many instead which requires vastly different prepping. I drove past a 1+ mile long line for firewood on Monday cause no one stocked up with the intention of solely relying on their fireplace for heating. 

As for the propane inside houses, I think most people who made that mistake were older and not on social media so they didn’t get the memo and weren’t raised with the knowledge of carbon monoxide risks indoors. Cause I know it was all over social media and many people posted about carbon monoxide hazards. It was probably on the news too but without power, no TV, no news. Others didn’t have phone charging banks so some didn’t have phone access at all either. 

Post # 11
Member
15346 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

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@dobby98:  If you were told to drip your pipes/faucets, that’s a prime example of misinformation imo.  As you’ve already found out, running water can still freeze.  People should’ve been told to fill a bunch of containers, and completely drain their pipes, no water to freeze, no damaged pipes.  That’s besides the point now, but I’m just so surprised that even if this event was unlikely, more proper prep information wasn’t  communicated to people as a just in case. 

Post # 12
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee

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@pinkshoes:  ah gotcha, yeah we weren’t told that (maybe I missed the memo). I only read to do that on Reddit if you were leaving your house behind and going elsewhere with power. 🙃 evidently few people knew what they were doing unfortunately. Many lessons learned for the future snowpocolypse. Currently just praying our pool and garage damages will be covered by insurance :/ and that our plumber shows up today so we can have water back on. 

Post # 13
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2019

I’m in Texas and we were extremely lucky! Here we never lost power.  We lost water only briefly here and there.  Right now we are under a boil water notice.  

Post # 14
Member
7581 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Texans should check their power company accounts and ensure you are *not* set to auto pay. There are exports of people getting bills that are hundreds of times higher than their usual bills (price gouging, anyone?), and you definitely do not want that on auto pay.

Post # 15
Member
148 posts
Blushing bee

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@Horseradish:  No, remarkably, not price gouging…the actual price of electricity (the wholesale price the power companies pay) shot up that much.  The demand was so high and the supply was so low.  If I were a Texan, I definitely wouldn’t allow auto pay to be active right now, but if I was one of the power companies under ERCOT, I wouldn’t be debiting customers’ accounts right now either. 

There is going to have to be relief coming from the state.  Few people, even those well off, can afford to pay electricity rates that high.  If Gov. Abbott fails to broker something, he is going to suffer press that is so bad that it may be the death knell of his career.

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