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What Caused the Texas Power Outages?


Even in parts of the country that typically get a lot of snow, the winter storms that hit the U.S. in the past few weeks were particularly severe. That’s why the storms in Texas – not a place known for cold weather – were particularly shocking. Obviously, the storms in Texas became a crisis for the state, but these events can also teach the entire country a lot about how our grid operates, and why more people are experiencing blackouts due to extreme weather. Keep reading to learn more about what caused the Texas power outages, courtesy of our experienced electricians at Mel Carr Electric.

Explaining the Texas Power Grid

It is quite common for the electrical grid in warmer parts of the country to have trouble handling extreme weather. In fact, even in colder parts of the country, the storms we have experienced in the past few years have represented a significant challenge to keeping our power on. However, in Texas, where the idea of a wind chill that feels below zero is virtually unheard of, this month’s storms felt almost apocalyptic. Utilities in other areas, including Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, also struggled to meet residents’ power demands when these storms him. Still, their issues were nothing compared to what happened in the Lone Star State, where lawsuits are now being filed over electric bills that soared past $9,000 a week.  

So how did this happen? How did the state’s coal, natural gas, crude, wind, and solar production all drop so low that four hundred million-plus people ended up without power? It all goes back to how Texas’s grid is laid out. Texas is the only state in the union with a completely deregulated power grid. While in other parts of the country, “the grid” refers to a connected network of power suppliers, some of which generally cross state lines, in Texas, all energy providers operate through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT. The lack of regulation in the Texas energy market has allowed a variety of companies to offer power at a lower than average price. However, because everything falls under ERCOT, many are now arguing now that this lack of regulation has also weakened the state’s energy infrastructure.

The question now is, can ERCOT continue to act as the host for Texas’s entire grid? With power outages having increased 67% in recent years as a result of climate change, many are now wondering if Texas’s current system is sustainable. Of course, it’s not just Texas that’s been affected by extreme weather events in recent years. In California, increasing wildfires have also interfered greatly with the state’s power infrastructure. The one thing that is clear is that with climate change leading to more power outages and rolling blackouts across the country, every homeowner must be prepared for the eventuality of finding themselves without electricity for a substantial period of time.

For Service You Can Rely on, Call Mel Carr Electric

If you are looking to prepare your home’s electrical system for a disaster, you can always count on our electrical experts at Mel Carr. We offer generator installations to provide you with a temporary power supply that can turn on automatically in case of emergency. We also provide surge protection, to ensure none of your home’s essential electrical hardware gets damaged following blackouts and power outages. And with circuit breaker changeovers and electrical upgrades to modernize your home and keep you safe for years to come, it’s always a good idea to hire our skilled electricians. Call us today for your next remodeling job or for a variety of other electrical services, and find out firsthand why satisfied customers have been returning to Mel Carr Electric since 1976.

To schedule electrical service, just dial (518) 500-3042. You can also click here to send us a message online. We promise to respond to your request within 24 hours!
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