‘Our fate is in their hands’: Flight cancellations, delays cause holiday headaches at San Antonio International Airport
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday said it will investigate the hundreds of flight delays and cancellations that many travelers are facing regarding Southwest Airlines amid a recent winter storm.
Bexar County Emergency Operations Center has all hands on deck during Thursday’s winter weather
All hands were on deck Thursday at the Bexar County Emergency Operations Center as they prepared for winter weather. The on-site team said they are not taking anything for granted and although they are not anticipating any high impact weather situations, they are prepared.
ERCOT names new, temporary leader two months after deadly winter storm
The board overseeing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the independent nonprofit entity that operates and manages the electricity grid that covers much of Texas, named former executive Brad Jones on Tuesday to be interim president and CEO.
Gov. Greg Abbott nominates new chair to Public Utility Commission after power crisis resignations
Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday named Peter Lake the new chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission, the public board that regulates the state’s power grid operators and saw all three of its members resign in the wake of February’s deadly winter storm.
Texas lawmakers want to prevent another power crisis. But the legislation doesn’t go far enough to do that, critics say
Lawmakers are trying to prevent another power grid failure like the one that occurred during last month’s deadly winter storm. (Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune)Both the Texas Senate and House have written bills that attempt to prevent another massive power failure in extreme temperatures. House Bill 11, sponsored by State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, was part of a package of bills that the lower chamber preliminarily approved Tuesday. “It doesn’t go far enough to truly protect Texans from the next winter weather calamity,” Jacoby said during a committee hearing on the bill on March 18. “Under this definition of an extreme weather emergency, these mandates would not apply,” Jacoby said during the committee meeting.
Almost 70% of ERCOT customers lost power during winter storm, study finds
As the updated death toll from February’s winter storm reached 111 deaths last week, the severity of its full force has continued to come into focus. AdThe Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages the state’s main power grid, which represents 90% of Texas’ electric load and serves more than 26 million customers, according to the agency. Black Texans were “modestly more likely” to have lost power than white Texans, according to the study. The company wants lawmakers to create a revenue stream to Berkshire through an additional charge on Texans’ power bills. Ad“In 2011, when we were asking questions about that winter storm, we were receiving promises and commitments that winterization would occur so that sort of thing wouldn't happen again,” he said.
At least 111 people died in Texas during winter storm, most from hypothermia
At least 111 Texans died during the winter storm, according to state health officials. (Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune)At least 111 Texans died as a result of last month’s winter storm, according to updated numbers released Thursday by the state Department of State Health Services. Health officials will continue to update their preliminary findings weekly. February’s winter storm blanketed large swaths of Texas in snow and ice and left millions without power or clean water for days in below-freezing temperatures. The company wants lawmakers to create a revenue stream to Berkshire through an additional charge on Texans’ power bills.
About 4,300 cold-stunned turtles survived the Texas freeze
Thousands of Atlantic green sea turtles and Kemp's ridley sea turtles suffering from cold stun are laid out to recover Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 at the South Padre Island Convention Center on South Padre Island, Texas. It's been the largest cold-stunning event for sea turtles recorded in the U.S. since the network was established in 1980. AdWhen water temperatures drop below about 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius), sea turtles become lethargic and are unable to swim. Some of the cold-stunned sea turtles had other problems as well, including hook infections and injuries from boats, Knight said. Almost all of the rescued sea turtles were green turtles, Schroeder said.
Texas’ natural gas and power generators would have to prepare for extreme temperatures under bill Senate committee approved
A bill that would overhaul Texas’ energy industry — including mandating weatherization for natural gas and power generators — was approved by a Texas Senate committee on Thursday. Many power generators and gas companies were ill-suited for the freezing temperatures in February, which led gas pipelines to freeze and power transmission to falter. AdA Texas House committee earlier this month passed a similar weatherization bill. “I’m convinced that we’re making a big mistake by attacking a problem that isn’t a problem, just because we feel like it is a problem.”Earlier this month, the state Senate scrambled to pass Senate Bill 2142. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, called for the resignation of its three members in the aftermath of the winter storm.
Congress questions Texas officials about power grid failure
Congress is looking into the cause of the power blackouts across Texas last month. A House panel planned to hear Wednesday, March 24, 2021, from officials who oversee the state's energy industry and electric grid. (AP Photo/LM Otero File)DALLAS – Congress is looking into last month’s massive and deadly power outages across Texas and questioning officials who oversee the state’s energy industry and electric grid. After outages in February 2011, Robb’s group recommended that Texas power plants needed better protection against winter storms. AdHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Texas grid was designed for peak summer heat, and policymakers wrongly believed that the 2011 severe winter storm was an anomaly.
CPS Energy accuses natural gas suppliers of price gouging during winter storm, files lawsuits
CPS Energy CEO says the company is facing $1 billion in charges after winter stormSAN ANTONIO – CPS Energy has filed lawsuits against many of its natural gas suppliers for “unlawful and unconscionable price gouging” during the February winter storm. According to a news release, certain natural gas suppliers charged CPS Energy up to 15,000% more for natural gas. The utility said the price hike came during a time when 52% of the electricity generated was from natural gas. CPS Energy claims that Comstock Resources, a natural gas producer from Texas, stated that the natural gas prices they were able to charge during the winter storm were “…like hitting the jackpot...” the release said. That is essentially what happened with natural gas prices during the storm.
Applying for FEMA winter storm aid? Here’s how the agency’s virtual inspections work.
Figueroa said people can apply for FEMA assistance online or by phone if their insurance didn’t cover all damages or if they don’t have insurance. AdFigueroa is reminding people that FEMA aid does not cover the following:Food lossInsurance deductiblesElectricity and water bills. Once you for disaster assistance, make sure you save the nine digit pin code you are given. To get more information or apply for assistance, visit the FEMA disaster assistance website or call 1-800-621-3362. AdAfter applying, you may stay on DisasterAssistance.gov to create a personal online disaster assistance account to stay in touch with FEMA.
San Antonio La Quinta hotel sued for price gouging during winter storm
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against a La Quinta hotel in San Antonio for alleged price gouging during the winter storm last month. According to a news release, a man, his three daughters and a 101-year-old grandmother booked two rooms for a one-night stay at La Quinta San Antonio Brooks City Base. When the family arrived, they told hotel staff they did not know when their electricity would be restored and made plans to possibly extend their stay. On the third day, hotel staff told the family that the room rates had nearly tripled, from $74 to $199 a night, the news release said. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit against Everyoung Hospitality LLC, d/b/a La Quinta San Antonio Brooks City Base.
Paperwork failures worsened Texas blackouts, sparking mid-storm scramble to restore critical fuel supply
A PUC spokesperson said Walker was “ceaselessly” on the phone, calling Nye about dozens of natural gas facilities that weren't on Oncor’s “critical” list. “There were phone calls every day.”By Wednesday, Feb. 17, natural gas supply in the state hit its lowest point during the storm, experts said. The Texas Energy Reliability Council — a voluntary body with no regulatory authority — usually meets twice a year. AdReliance on electricity, however, made the state’s electric power system a loop rather than a chain: Electricity relied on natural gas production, and natural gas production relied on electricity. So when demand for natural gas spiked during the frigid weather, homes got natural gas and some power plants didn’t, he said.
WATCH LIVE: House Science, Space and Technology Committee discuss ‘lessons learned’ from Texas blackouts
The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on Thursday morning will hold a virtual hearing on “Lessons Learned from the Texas Blackouts: Research Needs for a Secure and Resilient Grid.”The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. and it will be livestreamed in this article. Delays are possible; if there is not a livestream available, check back at a later time. AdMore than a month has passed since one of the worst blackouts in U.S. history devastated parts of Texas. During the week of Feb. 14, more than 4 million customers lost electricity in subfreezing temperatures. At least 57 people died across Texas during the winter storm.
Texas company behind huge electricity bills seeks bankruptcy
The company that drew attention after sending huge electricity bills to customers after last month’s blackout-causing winter storm in Texas has filed for bankruptcy protection. Its rates skyrocketed during the February deep freeze, when state grid operators raised wholesale prices. The company blamed its situation on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the power grid in most of the state. Griddy’s bankruptcy plan proposes to waive claims against customers for charges they incurred from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, while the $9,000 per megawatt hour price for wholesale power was in effect. Griddy is the third company to seek bankruptcy protection due to the storm, after Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. and Canadian natural gas provider Just Energy Group.
Winter storm caused at least 57 deaths, with most fatalities resulting from hypothermia
A massive winter storm last month caused major power outages and some Texans were left without electricity in subfreezing temperatures for days. At least 57 people died in Texas as a result of last month’s winter storm, according to preliminary data the state health department released Monday. The largest number of deaths — at least 25 — occured in Harris County, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported. The winter storm plunged large swaths of Texas into subfreezing temperatures and overwhelmed the state’s electricity infrastructure, causing massive power outages. AdLawmakers have also filed a slate of bills in response to the power outages last month.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick focuses scorn on Public Utility Commission after winter storm, testing Gov. Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott has worked to lay blame squarely on the state’s electrical-grid operator — despite the fact that it is overseen by the Abbott-appointed Public Utility Commission. Last week, Patrick called for the resignation of the PUC chair at the time, DeAnn Walker — and hours later, she called it quits. In a Friday evening statement, Patrick called on Abbott to “intercede” and replace D’Andrea, daring the governor to abandon his 9-day-old appointee. Abbott had already called on ERCOT leadership to resign but had not said anything about the PUC. AdIn his Friday evening statement, Patrick asked Abbott to “replace Mr. D’Andrea on the PUC when he fills the other two vacancies there.”“Mr.
WATCH LIVE: San Antonio’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness meets about winter storm
San Antonio’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness will meet on Friday morning to discuss the deadly winter storm that caused devastation in the city nearly one month ago. The committee, which consists of City Council members and community stakeholders, will meet at 10 a.m. The committee was assembled by Mayor Ron Nirenberg last month following the weather-related power and water crises. In a previous meeting, members worked on the areas of questioning they planned to pursue - with a focus on SAWS, CPS Energy, and the City of San Antonio’s preparation and conduct during the winter event. The Committee on Emergency Preparedness holds public meetings at 10 a.m. on Fridays.
South Texas bird food supply impacted by February winter storm
It was evident that Winter Storm Uri took a toll on South Texas plants. “They flock down here to be able to see the birds that we have to offer here in Texas,” Brown said. Brown said to make sure to clean out hummingbird feeders every two to three days. Bird droppings and other contaminants around and on feeders can spread infectious bird diseases. “The key is to keep the feeders clean, keep the area around the feeders clean, and fully shut down feeding if dead or sick birds are found at the feeder,” said TPWD Ornithologist Cliff Shackelford.
After Texas’ power grid failure, some in Lubbock worry about the city’s plans to join ERCOT
Lubbock officials initially planned to join ERCOT once its 15-year-long contract with Xcel Energy, a member of the Southwestern Public Service Company, expires. Spencer lives in Lubbock, one of the few areas of the state not connected to Texas’ independent power grid. AdThe failures of Texas’ independent power grid have led to some counties mulling a way out. Lubbock officials initially planned to join ERCOT once its 15-year-long contract with Xcel Energy, a member of the Southwestern Public Service Company, expires. Lubbock City Councilperson Jeff Griffith he still feels confident Lubbock will move forward with the plans to join ERCOT.
Texas utility regulator says ERCOT overcharged power companies by far less than $16 billion cited by watchdog group
Credit: Sergio Flores for The Texas TribuneThe state’s energy grid operator overcharged power companies by roughly $3 billion after the winter storm, the chairman of Texas’ utility regulator said Thursday, pushing back on a previous report from an agency watchdog that said the companies were overcharged by $16 billion. But a letter submitted Thursday by Potomac Economics repeated that ERCOT overcharged companies by $16 billion. AdIt is still unclear whether and how this overcharge directly affects Texas electricity customers, however many power companies have taken a significant financial hit. In Texas, wholesale power prices are determined by supply and demand: When demand is high, ERCOT allows prices to go up. During the storm, the PUC directed the grid operator to set wholesale power prices at $9,000 per megawatt-hour — the maximum price.
At least 3.8 million fish on Texas coast killed by winter storm, TPWD says
SAN ANTONIO – The winter freeze killed nearly 4 million fish along the Texas coast in what officials are calling the largest fish kill event since the 1980s. The Upper and Lower Laguna Madre bays which are off the South Texas Coast were hit particularly hard, according to TPWD. The estimated 3.8 million fish killed in Texas consisted of 61 species, with 91% of those include non-recreational fish like hardhead catfish and pinfish. Just before the freeze, TPWD closed fishing on the Texas coast that could have further impacted wildlife. Other wildlife species impacted by the storm include axis deer, blackbuck, nilgai antelope and multiple bird species, according to TPWD.
San Antonio’s emergency preparedness committee wants input from community on response, recommendations
An aerial view of San Antonio's Northeast Side covered in snow in February 2021 submitted by KSAT Connect user jwill03. SAN ANTONIO – Do you have thoughts about the city’s preparedness level ahead of last month’s winter weather or how San Antonio could better prepare for future emergencies? The City of San Antonio’s Committee on Emergency Preparedness wants to hear from you. You can share your comments about the city’s preparedness and response to the recent winter weather events as well as recommendations for future preparedness efforts through the following channels through March 31:Visiting www.sanantonio.gov/Emergency-Preparedness-CommitteeCalling 311 or;Texting SAEmergency to 55000. The Committee on Emergency Preparedness holds public meetings at 10 a.m. on Fridays and is made up of the following members:
Watch San Antonio state Sen. Jose Menendez discuss Texas blackouts March 10 at noon in interview with Texas Tribune
Editor’s note: This story was initially published by the Texas Tribune. Throughout his career, Goldman has worked on campaigns helping to elect Republicans at the local, state and national levels. This conversation is presented by Lone Star College and Texas State Technical College and supported by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Texas McCombs Energy Institute and Texas Construction Association. Foundation support is provided by the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation, the Energy Foundation and the Catena Foundation. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.
Texans recovering from COVID-19 relied on machines to help them breathe. Then the power went out.
For the next two days, Marin struggled for air and shivered under a pile of blankets. On the morning of Feb. 17, as they were still without power, his wife begged him to return to the hospital. Among those demanding accountability are some Texans recovering from COVID-19 who say the prolonged outages further imperiled their already fragile health. Dr. Bela Patel, the chief of critical care medicine at UTHealth’s McGovern Medical School, said that during the power outages some recovering COVID-19 patients showed up at emergency rooms, filling up already crowded hospitals. “It was really devastating for them,” said Patel, who runs a clinic for those recovering from long-term symptoms of COVID-19.
Just one Public Utility Commission member remains after another resignation in aftermath of winter storm
Many residents experienced power outages due to the winter storm that rolled through Texas. (Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)Public Utility Commissioner Shelly Botkin has resigned in the aftermath of the deadly Texas winter weather crisis that left millions of people without power. Botkin's exit comes a week after the chairwoman of the commission, DeAnn Walker, submitted her resignation under pressure from Lt. Gov. With Botkin's resignation, the commission is now down to just one member. Walker testified in front of lawmakers before resigning and D'Andrea spoke publicly about issues over the power outages after being elevated to commission chair.
February CPS Energy bills out soon; excessive costs from winter storms not included
SAN ANTONIO – CPS Energy customers are not expected to see huge additional fuel or purchased power charges from the winter storm when the February 2021 bills are released beginning Monday, the utility said Friday. “CPS Energy is currently assessing the validity of the additional fuel and purchased power costs from the winter storm and is currently not passing them through to customers,” a news release said. Gold-Williams said CPS would pursue regulatory assistance and help from elected officials to avoid customers shouldering that load. The utility said a team of energy advisors is ready to work with customers to discuss their bills and to help with payment arrangements. “While we must and will pay all justified and legitimate business costs, our CPS Energy team will continue to fight to maintain our commitment to affordability.”AutoPay was reinstated on Feb. 26.
Council members, community stakeholders hold first Committee on Emergency Preparedness meeting
SAN ANTONIO – A committee assembled by Mayor Ron Nirenberg following the weather-related power and water crises last month met for the first time Friday morning. The members of the Committee on Emergency Preparedness worked on the areas of questioning they planned to pursue - with a focus on SAWS, CPS Energy, and the City of San Antonio’s preparation and conduct during the winter event. Chairman Reed Williams, a former San Antonio City Council and SAWS board member said the committee will work to find out why the weather event was so damaging and identify changes that should be made. However, Williams stressed that the committee does not have any authority to force the utilities or other entities to make any of those changes. Williams also noted the public’s desire for answers and said the committee would post answers online as it gets them rather than waiting to compile a polished, final report.
Public Utility Commission of Texas, ERCOT hold meetings Friday to discuss winter storm response
The Public Utility Commission of Texas will have an open meeting on Friday morning to discuss the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and other topics related to electricity and water following last month’s deadly winter storm. The PUC meeting is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. According to PUC, the meeting will touch on electric reliability, the electric market development, ERCOT oversight, cost recovery in areas outside of ERCOT, and electric reliability standards and organizations arising under federal law. According to Potomac Economics, an independent market monitor for the PUC, ERCOT kept the price of power too high after the outages ended. His outrage has not extended to the state’s PUC, which oversees ERCOT and is led by Abbott appointees.
How severely ill children survived the Texas winter storms at home with the help of San Antonio pediatric health care workers
SAN ANTONIO – While each of us was living in our own deep freeze drama during the snowstorms of February, the pediatric staff at UT Health San Antonio were fighting their own battle against the forces of nature. With the power out, bitterly cold houses and no water, the pediatric team for the most medically complex pediatric population began to worry. All of the equipment requires electricity,” said Dr. Wisdeen Wu, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio. AdShe also takes her hat off to her patients’ families, who she says were very resourceful under stress. ALSO ON KSAT.COM: Nurtured with faith, a community garden in San Antonio springs back from the devastating winter storm
More than $600 million in agricultural losses accounted for so far, Texas A&M economist says
SAN ANTONIO – Losses in the agriculture industry brought on by the winter storm in Texas are now estimated to be $605 million, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Dr. David Anderson, the education agency’s livestock economist, said included in that figure are $228 million in losses to the livestock and poultry industries, as well as the animals who died due to the cold. RELATED: Texas Farm Bureau, others assessing winter storm damage“That probably ate up a lot more cost than they were expecting in producing the birds this year,” Anderson said. Full Screen 1 / 6 Image courtesy of Bryan Bettice, Adkins, Texas. Many had pumps that froze up, and damaged pipe systems now need repair to get water to their cattle.
North East ISD reports up to $2 million in winter storm damage
SAN ANTONIO – The North East Independent School District had its share of water lines that burst, but the costliest damage to the city’s second largest school district was to four large chillers at three of its schools. “Some of those chillers just froze over, broke and have to be replaced, unfortunately,” said NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor. Normally used for air conditioning systems, the chillers affected were at Churchill High School, Bush Middle School and Garner Middle School. “We had so many wonderful, wonderful maintenance staff, custodians, everyone who left their own families at home,” she said. “When it’s all said and done, we’re probably looking at about two million.”Chancellor said the school district is covered by insurance, but it has a $100,000 deductible.
SAWS Board explains winter storm response
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Water System Board of Trustees met Tuesday. One of the topics of discussion was how the public utility prepared for and responded to last month’s winter storm. Due to power outages and broken pipes, thousands of San Antonio homes were without running water for days during the week of wintry weather. Those with water were told to boil it for several days following the winter storm. Last week, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that he would be forming a new committee to discover how the city can better prepare for situations like last week’s winter storm in the future.
Diversity in plant species helping San Antonio River Walk after severe winter weather
SAN ANTONIO – Brown plants have littered South Texas after many died or were damaged in February’s winter storms. But along the River Walk, the SA River Authority said they might be in better shape than they thought. However, the River Authority’s Sustainable Landscape Ecologist, Lee Marlowe, said the River Walk will still be able to support wildlife during the important spring migration. Marlowe said many of the plants that died during the winter weather are actually non-native species people may be growing in their yards. AdNow that it is March, we can expect to see a number of species migrate through South Texas.
CPS Energy faces $1 billion bill for winter weather power crisis
SAN ANTONIO – CPS Energy and its customers could be facing a $1 billion bill for February’s weather-related power crisis, though utility officials say they are doing what they can to protect customers. Gold-Williams said CPS would pursue regulatory assistance and help from elected officials to avoid customers shouldering that load. And then we will use every other tool in our toolbox to work to get this cost down,” Gold-Williams said. AdGold-Williams has previously said CPS would look to spread the cost to customers out over 10 years or more. AdTrustees also voted Monday to order an independent review of CPS’s preparedness, communication, and response regarding the power crisis.
Texas Farm Bureau, others assessing winter storm damage
POTH, Texas – As the president of the Texas Farm Bureau, Russell Boening experienced much of what the rest of the state’s agriculture industry endured during last month’s record cold. Boening said he agrees with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s prediction that the financial impact of the winter storm could be a billion dollars, if not more. AdWith the fragrant orange blossoms already on the trees, Murden said next year’s crop is gone. He said it’s been estimated the citrus industry has an economic impact of $468 million. The Texas Farm Bureau has been assessing the winter storm damage, but its spokesman said the figures, when complete, will come from the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick calls for resignations at Public Utility Commission, power grid operator over winter storm
“Both the PUC Chair and the ERCOT CEO said they were prepared the day before the storm hit in full force, but obviously they were not,” Patrick said in a statement. His statements come after the officials testified for hours late last week in committee hearings as state lawmakers grilled them over the power grid failures. The week of Feb. 14, freezing temperatures and snow caused mass power outages and water issues and left dozens of people dead. Patrick said PUC and ERCOT officials were not ready for a winter storm of this magnitude and were given ideas for ways to prepare, but failed to do so. “I do not make this call for the resignation of the PUC Chair and the ERCOT CEO lightly,” Patrick said.
AG sues Texas utility over customers’ sky-high energy bills
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas’ attorney general said Monday he’s suing electricity provider Griddy for passing along massive bills to its customers during last month’s winter storm. The lawsuit comes days after Texas' power grid manager effectively shut down Griddy by revoking its access to the state's electricity market. But when temperatures plummeted well below freezing last month, wholesale prices spiked and Griddy customers were left with sky-high electricity bills. The unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to 4 million customers and leaving many struggling to find clean water. Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, shifted about 10,000 Griddy customers to other utilities on Friday.
Landmark church in Deco District faces costly repairs after winter storm
SAN ANTONIO – A small pump wasn’t enough to take out the water that had found its way beneath the floor of Jefferson Community Church, a Deco District landmark, after last week’s winter storms. “After two days, it didn’t look like it had moved at all,” said Pastor Olivia Walker, who had attended the church as a child. When last week’s beautiful blanket of snow that covered the church had melted, it came in through the gaps around the foundation, Walker said. She said the sanctuary was spared, but water covered the floors of storage areas and choir rooms. Its congregation, now with only about 100 members, had already made costly repairs and improvements trying to shore up the building.
Watch live: Texas House and Senate holding hearings about last week’s winter storm
Key committees in both chambers of the Texas Legislature will meet Friday to continue discussing what went wrong with the state’s power infrastructure during last week’s winter storm. Committees met for more than 12 hours on Thursday to discuss the outages. Most of what they got during those simultaneous public hearings was finger-pointing.
Frozen out: Will companies, talent rethink San Antonio?
The near catastrophic collapse of power could create new challenges for San Antonio economic development officials seeking to retain and recruit companies and talent. SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between the San Antonio Business Journal and KSAT. The near catastrophic collapse of power could create new challenges for San Antonio economic development officials seeking to retain and recruit companies and talent. “As for the long run, it has the potential to damage our economic development reputation.”One of the key assets that Cisneros said San Antonio officials have pitched to prospective companies is reliable, uninterruptible power. AdRead more on this story at the San Antonio Business Journal.
Plumber shortage and supply chain issues are delaying storm recovery efforts in Texas
Zachary Shockency, a technician with Radiant Plumbing, looks for a burst pipe that caused flooding during last week’s winter storm at a home in West Austin on Wednesday. (Credit: Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune)Plenty of Texans want to hire plumbers in the wake of February’s crippling winter storm. During the 2019 legislative session, a Sunset Advisory Commission report on the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners found excessive barriers to entering the plumbing industry, including overregulation and complex licensing requirements. During last week’s storm, Abbott also signed orders allowing out-of-state plumbers to obtain provisional licenses to work in Texas and plumbers without current licenses to go back to work immediately. “All the trades across the board in Texas have been under pressure the last decade, at least in this state,” Haverlah said.
Texas lawmakers probe deadly winter storm during day-long hearings
AUSTIN – Committees from both the Texas Senate and Texas House on Thursday questioned energy executives and the head of the state’s power grid operator during hearings exploring last week’s deadly winter storm and power outages. Lawmakers, including state Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, questioned why alerts sent out to the public ahead of a hurricane were not used prior to the storm. “I think we should have made some sort of public announcement, sort of like we do with hurricanes,” said Menendez. Curtis Morgan, CEO of Vistra Corp., an Irving-based energy company, told House members during a joint hearing that energy plants in Texas are built to withstand hot weather and hurricanes, but not frigid temperatures. A report released Thursday by Texans for Public Justice, an Austin non-profit that tracks money in Texas politics, shows that political donors tied to ERCOT’s board gave Texas House members more than $700,000 the past two years.
Many rural Texas counties currently left out of federal disaster aid eligibility for winter storm
President Joe Biden has approved individual aid for 108 Texas counties as of Thursday, but many rural counties are still not eligible. Refugio County does not fall under President Joe Biden’s major disaster declaration, which currently covers 108 Texas counties. Biden approved a major disaster declaration for 77 on Saturday, and then another 31 two days later. This data is also needed to provide information to FEMA and highlight the need for federal disaster assistance for individuals,” a statement said. Counties included in major disaster declarationHere are the counties under a major disaster declaration, whose residents can begin applying for FEMA assistance, according to the White House and Gov.
Were your plants damaged by the freeze? Here’s what to do next.
“What we need to do is get some real sharp pruners, get some quality hand pruners, hedge shears, quality loppers and start. Rodriguez also recommends pulling the organic mulch away from plants to allow the late February sun to warm up the soil. Other plant life, like palms and sago palms, also took a beating. As long as their center is nice and firm, sago palms can make a comeback. Also, keep in mind that while we are approaching our average final freeze date in San Antonio, a freeze in March is always possible.
How Texas’ power grid works
Who is in charge of the state power grid? The deregulated power grid in Texas means no one company owns all the power plants, transmission lines and distribution networks, and about 60% of Texas customers choose between dozens of power retailers on an open market. Electricity generators, such as NRG and Vistra, produce power, while retail electric providers, such as Tara Energy and Griddy, sell it to residents and businesses. The transmission companies, such as Oncor, transport the power and are compensated by a fee on customer’s bills from their electric provider. A Texas Tribune and ProPublica investigation found that Texas regulators and lawmakers knew about the grid’s vulnerabilities for years, but repeatedly prioritized the interests of large electricity providers rather than force expensive changes.