Texas governor says about 165,000 households don’t have power
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said about 165,000 households across the state don’t have electricity because of downed power lines or because residences need to be manually reconnected to the power system.
“There are no longer any residential power outages due to the lack of power generation,” Abbott said.
“For those still without power, we want them to know that local providers are working around the clock to restore electricity,” the governor said.
Abbott said officials were also focused on restoring access to clean water. The governor said busted water pipes may be the biggest challenge Texans will face over the next week.
Abbott urged homeowners and renters to contact their insurance providers soon about property damage from the week’s severe weather. People who don’t have insurance can seek aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after President Bidenfor the state.
Texans without water or shelter face another foe: Price gouging
Texas officials are calling on residents to report any incidents of price gouging.
Houston-area residents have lodged complaints over bottled water and hotel rooms being offered for inordinate prices, according to Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee, chief civil attorney for Texas’ biggest county, and Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo.
“We’ve seen some anecdotal evidence of outrageous prices on necessary items like food and water, basically, price gouging,” Hidalgo said at a news conference.
“Whether it’s spiking the price of basic necessities, whether it’s posting an Airbnb with power for $1,000 a night — we can’t imagine something more cruel than taking advantage of people who are suffering right now in this disaster and have been suffering for days,” added Hidalgo, who urged residents to report instances of abuse.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raises $1 million for Texans
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is from New York, but she is focusing on Texas this week. Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the dire situation in the state by creating a fundraiser, which as of Thursday had raised $1 million, she said.
Ocasio-Cortez said 100% of donations will go to The Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, Ending Community Homeless Coalition, Family Eldercare, Houston Food Bank and Feeding Texas.
Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from having blackouts for months
The top official at Texas’ power grid said the system was “seconds and minutes” away from leaving residents without power for months.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas received intense criticism for leaving some 4 million customers without power this week. Bill Magness, the president and CEO of the council, told the Texas Tribune on Wednesday that it could have all been much worse.
Magness told the outlet that grid operators acted quickly to cut the amount of power distributed on Monday – and if they had not, Texas could have suffered blackouts that “could have occurred for months” and left the state in an “indeterminately long” crisis.
“It needed to be addressed immediately,” said Magness. “It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system.”
Frozen fire hydrants hamper firefighters
Firefighters in San Antonio battled a massive blaze at an apartment complex without the help of hydrants Thursday night. Crews had to bring water to the scene, where fire hydrants were frozen shut.
CBS affiliate KENS-TV showed footage of a fire truck dumping water into a makeshift pool in a parking lot. A different truck would pump water from the pool into hoses.
“There’s a hydrant right in front of the building, it’s frozen stiff and none of the hydrants out here work, and they’re all frozen,” Bexar-Bulverde Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Bialick told WOAI-TV.
Bialick told the station firefighters would use thousands of gallons of water in a matter of minutes.
Neighbors told KENS-TV the building’s 130 residents made it out safely.