Texas is nearing the end of what Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called "a once-in-every-120-year cold front," but that doesn't entirely explain why more than a million households still had no electricity early Thursday, after three full days of below-freezing temperatures. Plenty of places in the world keep their power on in prolonged arctic weather, and so did parts of Texas.
Those edges of Texas, including El Paso, "are primarily in areas outside of those supported by ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the electric grid for 90 percent of the state and operates separately from federal oversight and regulation," KHOU 11 Houston reported Wednesday night.
After the 2011 winter freeze, El Paso Electric, on the Western Interconnect grid, spent heavily to "winterize our equipment and facilities so they could stand minus-10 degree weather for a sustained period of time," Eddie Gutierrez, an El Paso Electric spokesman, told KHOU. So this year, "we had about three thousand people that were out during this period, a thousand of them had outages that were less than five minutes."
On the other side of Texas, near the Louisiana border, the city of Beaumont also appears to have weather the storm without massive outages. Entergy, which powers Beaumont on the Eastern Interconnect grid, told KHOU it also winterized its infrastructure after the 2011 storm. Weatherizing power generation and extraction equipment is voluntary in Texas, though the state legislature will probably revisit that strategy when it dissects ERCOT this year.
More stories from theweek.com
5 scathingly funny cartoons about Mitch McConnell's impeachment dodge
The Texas blizzard nightmare is Republican governance in a nutshell
NASA reveals 'stunning' image from Perseverance rover's landing on Mars