Power failure: How a winter storm pushed Texas into an acute crisis; Hospitals in US South confront water shortages in aftermath


From The Associated Press


Media www.rajawalisiber.com  – Two days before the winter storm began, Houston’s chief elected official warned her constituents to prepare as they would for a major hurricane.


Many took heed: Texans who could stocked up on food and water, while nonprofits and government agencies set out to help those who couldn’t.


But few foresaw the fiasco that was to come and they could not be prepared, Nomaan Merchant reports from Houston.


As temperatures plunged and snow and ice whipped the state, much of Texas’ power grid collapsed, followed by its water systems.


Tens of millions huddled in frigid homes that slowly grew colder, or fled for safety.


Images of desperate Texans circulated worldwide. To some, they evoked a less wealthy or self-regarding place. To others, they laid bare problems that have long festered.


More than 35 people in Texas have been confirmed dead. That number is expected to rise as roads cleared and relatives and first responders could check on missing loved ones.


How could this happen in a state that is the nation’s biggest energy producer and home to several of the world’s biggest energy companies?


The disaster can be traced to mistakes by Texas’ leadership and faults created by decades of opposition to more regulations and preparation.


Basically, the state is an island in the U.S. electrical system. There is one large grid covering the Eastern half of the country, another for the West, with Texas wedged between them.


Hospitals in U.S. South: They are grappling with water shortages as the region carries on with recovery efforts in the wake of the devastating winter storm. At the height of the storm, hospitals were left scrambling to care for patients amid record cold, snow and ice. The storm was especially damaging in parts of the country more accustomed to going through winter with light jackets and short sleeves. The icy blast ruptured water mains, knocked out power to millions of utility customers and contributed to at least 76 deaths. Juan Lozano, Jonathan Matisse and Adrian Sainz report.


EXPLAINER: Why some Texans are getting sky-high energy bills. The surge in pricing is hitting people who have chosen to pay wholesale prices for their power, which is typically cheaper than paying fixed rates during good weather, but can spike when there’s high demand for electricity. Many of those who have reported receiving huge bills are customers of electricity provider Griddy, which only operates in Texas.

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