Texas catastrophe ‘foreseeable and preventable’, Houston mayor says | Atmosphere Information

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Texas will maintain hearings this week into how a winter storm reduce tens of millions off from utilities and killed dozens, a catastrophe which the mayor of Houston known as “foreseeable and preventable”.

Texas State Consultant Craig Goldman stated on Sunday that energy firms, together with the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and different stakeholders would participate in a listening to on the state legislature on Thursday.

ERCOT provides energy to greater than 26 million individuals in Texas.

“We’ve been by means of what we hope is a one-time historic occasion in our state,” Goldman stated in an interview with NBC’s Lone Star Politics programme.

“Thursday begins the questioning of the stakeholders concerned to seek out out if something went improper, what went improper, who’s accountable and extra importantly, what options shifting ahead we are able to do as a state legislature … to make it possible for this positively by no means occurs once more.”

Hundreds of thousands of Texans suffered energy outages and water service interruptions after a extreme winter storm hit the state this week. Dozens have died because of the subzero temperatures, together with some who reportedly suffered from hypothermia.

Whereas energy has been restored to most individuals throughout the state – about 36,000 houses remained with out energy on Sunday afternoon, in accordance with PowerOutage.US – many Texans nonetheless would not have entry to wash water.

State authorities have arrange water and meals distribution factors to assist residents.

On Saturday, President Joe Biden authorized a significant catastrophe declaration to unlock federal funding to assist Texas state and native authorities reply to the disaster.

“Help can embrace grants for momentary housing and residential repairs, low-cost loans to cowl uninsured property losses, and different packages to assist people and enterprise house owners recuperate from the consequences of the catastrophe,” the White Home stated in an announcement.

A person walks to his good friend’s dwelling in a neighbourhood with out electrical energy in Pflugerville, Texas, on February 15 [Bronte Wittpenn/Austin American-Statesman/USA Today Network via Reuters]

However as temperatures get hotter throughout Texas, many are questioning how the catastrophe occurred – and calls are rising for accountability and concrete motion to stop an analogous scenario from occurring once more.

In an interview with the CBS programme Meet the Press on Sunday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stated the catastrophe was “foreseeable and preventable”.

“Our system in Texas is designed primarily for the summer season warmth, and never essentially for a winter occasion. The truth is local weather change is actual, it’s actual, and these main storms can occur at any time,” Turner stated.

“The system must be weatherised. We have to keep ample reserve. We have to open up our Texas grid as a result of proper now now we have a closed grid.”

Turner additionally stated the state should bear accountability for any exorbitant electrical energy prices residents could also be billed for.

The New York Instances reported on Saturday that one resident of a Dallas suburb was charged $16,752 for energy utilization in the course of the storm.

“These payments, these exorbitant prices, must be borne by the state of Texas and never the person customers who didn’t trigger this disaster this week,” the mayor stated.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott held an emergency assembly on Saturday with the state’s lieutenant governor and members of the state legislature to debate the spike in vitality payments persons are going through.

“We’ve got a accountability to guard Texans from spikes of their vitality payments which can be a results of the extreme winter climate and energy outages,” Abbott stated in an announcement, with out offering particulars about what measures the state would take.

“We’re shifting rapidly to alleviate this drawback and can proceed to work collaboratively all through this week on options to assist Texas households and guarantee they don’t get caught with skyrocketing vitality payments,” he stated.

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