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  1. #561
    On a related note, Texas governor Greg Abbott has ended the mask mandate in his state, is allowing restaurants/bars to operate at full capacity, and in his own words "Texas is OPEN 100%. EVERYTHING."

    Such a blatant, pathetic attempt to score political points with voters after his disastrous handling of the energy crisis.
    “Leadership: Whatever happens, you’re responsible. If it doesn’t happen, you’re responsible.” -- Donald J. Trump, 2013

    "I don't take responsibility at all."
    -- Donald J. Trump, 2020

  2. #562
    Quote Originally Posted by Ursus View Post
    On a related note, Texas governor Greg Abbott has ended the mask mandate in his state, is allowing restaurants/bars to operate at full capacity, and in his own words "Texas is OPEN 100%". Such a blatant, pathetic attempt to score political points with voters after his disastrous handling of the energy crisis.
    I imagine he's hoping people will be too busy getting drunk at bars to remember that their water pipes at home/their apartment complex burst and they're facing a $5K electricity bill for a few days use.

  3. #563
    Void Lord Felya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    I imagine he's hoping people will be too busy getting drunk at bars to remember that their water pipes at home/their apartment complex burst and they're facing a $5K electricity bill for a few days use.
    I think it’s more of to strengthen his base and replace national outrage, with something more palatable to said base.

    Edit: Basically, let’s see if liberal tears are enough to help Texas... I don’t think they are getting any other solutions.
    Folly and fakery have always been with us... but it has never before been as dangerous as it is now, never in history have we been able to afford it less. - Isaac Asimov
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  4. #564
    Herald of the Titans bladeXcrasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ursus View Post
    On a related note, Texas governor Greg Abbott has ended the mask mandate in his state, is allowing restaurants/bars to operate at full capacity, and in his own words "Texas is OPEN 100%. EVERYTHING."

    Such a blatant, pathetic attempt to score political points with voters after his disastrous handling of the energy crisis.
    It didn't work out too well when he did this last memorial day. Conservatives the country over are celebrating all the "freedumb" we will have starting March 10th.

  5. #565
    Why institutionalized knowledge is so important.

    Austin Water outage impacted by a single gear switch, report says

    Problems with the power outage at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant that in part eventually led to a boil water notice across the city were traced back to an old gear switch staff members did not know how to operate, according to a report by KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman.

    The Statesman reported that state regulations force the plant to have a backup power source or a substantial amount of water reserves in the event of an unexpected shutdown, both of which the Ullrich plant has.

    But, according to the report, a tree limb fell on an electric line feeding the substation that powers Ullrich, which is the city's biggest water treatment plant. On Feb. 17, those backups should have kicked into gear to keep the facility operating.

    So, what happened?

    The report states no one on-site that day knew how to operate a 52-year-old gear switch that would have restored power. As a result, the facility went dark for three hours. It stalled about half of Austin's potable water production and added even more pain to the winter weather crisis that was already leaving thousands of Austinites without electricity.

    According to the Statesman, the outage caused the plant to operate below capacity for more than 10 hours. During this time, water was quickly drained from the water reserves as thousands of pipes and water mains were burst across the city.

    The failure at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant led to a boil water notice that lasted several days and even led to evacuations at St. David's South Austin Medical Center.

  6. #566
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03...ad-commission/

    Seems like the Texas government is learning nothing from this outside of finding ERCOT to be a fantastic scapegoat for everything, even problems they have no involvement in.

    Doesn't seem like there's any regulatory appetite from the state leadership in the slightest, and they want to continue allowing companies at all level of the power generation/distribution chain self-regulate.

    Because clearly that hasn't repeatedly caused problems when these companies fail to invest in their infrastructures and we end up with people freezing to death because they lost power for 5 days in a bloody snowstorm.

    Sorry, Texans. Hope y'all get some battery backups, generators, and emergency plans in place.

  7. #567
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03...ad-commission/

    Seems like the Texas government is learning nothing from this outside of finding ERCOT to be a fantastic scapegoat for everything, even problems they have no involvement in.

    Doesn't seem like there's any regulatory appetite from the state leadership in the slightest, and they want to continue allowing companies at all level of the power generation/distribution chain self-regulate.

    Because clearly that hasn't repeatedly caused problems when these companies fail to invest in their infrastructures and we end up with people freezing to death because they lost power for 5 days in a bloody snowstorm.

    Sorry, Texans. Hope y'all get some battery backups, generators, and emergency plans in place.
    I said it before, Abbott & the TX legislature are not going to bite the hand that feed them.

    Some interesting development.

    Texas grid operator made $16 billion price error during winter storm, watchdog says

    So are they going to return the money? Stupid question.

    Texas Regulators Decline to Reprice $16 Billion Market ‘Error’

  8. #568
    Quote Originally Posted by Rasulis View Post
    So are they going to return the money? Stupid question.

    Texas Regulators Decline to Reprice $16 Billion Market ‘Error’
    Sounds like a good reason not to pay and to take them to court. I fuckin wouldn't pay for their fuckin pricing error. If anything they should owe customers money for the hassle of and absolute nightmare of looking at their massive bills.

  9. #569
    Seems like TX needs an insurrection.

  10. #570
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Sounds like a good reason not to pay and to take them to court. I fuckin wouldn't pay for their fuckin pricing error. If anything they should owe customers money for the hassle of and absolute nightmare of looking at their massive bills.
    The graph below tells us why so many people are pissed with ERCOT. For two days after the blackout ended and TX had plenty of electricity, ERCOT kept charging the electricity providers $9,000 per MWH. Look at that graph closely. There was no reason for ERCOT to charge $9,000 in the first place, and there was definitely no reasonable explanation for them to kept charging that rate for another 2 days once TX had all the electricity that they needed.


  11. #571
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/pol...d-16030647.php

    Sorry Texans, sounds like your states leadership can't get its act together so the bill they were trying to pass to reprice all the massively inflated cost of electricity during the blackouts...is dead.

    Phelan, R-Beaumont, called it “an extraordinary government intervention into the free market, which may have major consequences for both residential and commercial consumers going forward.”
    We're all slaves to the free market at the end of the day, I guess. Create a problem, do nothing to solve the problem, work to make sure the problem remains in place so people will suffer once more.

    Texas, please stop electing these people who appear to literally hate your fuckin guts.

  12. #572
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/pol...d-16030647.php

    Sorry Texans, sounds like your states leadership can't get its act together so the bill they were trying to pass to reprice all the massively inflated cost of electricity during the blackouts...is dead.



    We're all slaves to the free market at the end of the day, I guess. Create a problem, do nothing to solve the problem, work to make sure the problem remains in place so people will suffer once more.

    Texas, please stop electing these people who appear to literally hate your fuckin guts.
    Always knew that was going to be the case. These people are HEAVILY invested into these companies. It isn't really free. These state senators own that market and plan to soak up as many dimes from hard working people as they can.

  13. #573
    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/pol...d-16030647.php

    Sorry Texans, sounds like your states leadership can't get its act together so the bill they were trying to pass to reprice all the massively inflated cost of electricity during the blackouts...is dead.



    We're all slaves to the free market at the end of the day, I guess. Create a problem, do nothing to solve the problem, work to make sure the problem remains in place so people will suffer once more.

    Texas, please stop electing these people who appear to literally hate your fuckin guts.
    That's chump change. The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research firm, projects the state’s economic impact from the February winter storm at $195 billion to $295 billion.

    The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic research firm, has projected that Winter Storm Uri could end up costing $195 billion to $295 billion. These figures include lost income as well as a long-term reduction in economic output stemming from factories and businesses that closed during the storm. Also, the damage to the state’s large agriculture sector could last for several seasons. Produce farmers in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, dubbed the state’s “salad bowl,” lost tons of vegetables. The storm also destroyed about half of the state’s citrus harvest, according to the Texas Farm Bureau. Undoubtedly the long-term effects of the storm are likely to have both local and national economic implications for years to come.

    The Insurance Council of Texas expects claims to be on a par with 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, which was estimated to have caused state-wide insurance and reinsurance market losses of approximately $19 billion[3]. The loss estimate predicted for Winter Storm Uri includes home, auto, commercial, industrial, and business interruption lines of business, with the majority losses expected from small businesses and commercial enterprises. According to Moody’s, the magnitude of the losses from Uri are expected to be unprecedented since the last single winter storm event to exceed $1 billion in losses was Winter Storm Quinn, which hit the Northeast in 2018. Moreover, the financial impact of Uri is notable because totaled insured losses from U.S. winter storms have averaged a bit more than $2 billion annually between 2010 to 2019, according to Munich Re.

    The financial ripple effects of winter storm Uri are now beginning to impact municipal power entities, which are quickly entering a real crisis. One example is found in the Brazos Electric Co-Op, the largest and oldest power cooperative in Texas serving 16 distribution member organizations that have 1.5 million electric service customers. This financially robust, stable company with a solid A/A+ credit rating received an ERCOT invoice the third week of February for $2.1 billion (an amount nearly three times its power costs for all of 2020). It responded by issuing a notice of force majeure, rejecting the bill and entering bankruptcy proceedings[4]. In its court filing, Brazos explained that it found itself caught in a liquidity trap that it could not solve with its current balance sheet.

    Analysts at Fitch Ratings have indicated that the cost of the storm could exceed the liquidity immediately available to a range of these power generation entities and warned of potential credit downgrades for all Texas power distribution and generation organizations that used the state’s grid. Clearly, creditors and bond investors across the country will be dealing with this aspect of the financial aftermath of Winter Storm Uri for months to come.


    In term of financial damage, that would classify it as the costliest natural disaster in the US.

  14. #574
    Herald of the Titans bladeXcrasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/pol...d-16030647.php

    Sorry Texans, sounds like your states leadership can't get its act together so the bill they were trying to pass to reprice all the massively inflated cost of electricity during the blackouts...is dead.



    We're all slaves to the free market at the end of the day, I guess. Create a problem, do nothing to solve the problem, work to make sure the problem remains in place so people will suffer once more.

    Texas, please stop electing these people who appear to literally hate your fuckin guts.
    Between the ridiculously blatant gerrymandering and the absolutely ridiculous idea that paying state representatives $1700 a year so they just get sucked up by whatever corporation wants to directly lobby to Austin, not likely to happen anytime soon.

  15. #575
    Quote Originally Posted by bladeXcrasher View Post
    Between the ridiculously blatant gerrymandering and the absolutely ridiculous idea that paying state representatives $1700 a year so they just get sucked up by whatever corporation wants to directly lobby to Austin, not likely to happen anytime soon.
    https://www.dallasnews.com/business/...g-291-million/

    Hey, fuck Ken Paxton for a million different reasons, but this is at least good.

    Seems Griddy (the power company that sold energy to customers at wholesale rates, that proactively reached out and told people to find another provider as they were expecting high power charges, that said they'd rather go bankrupt than bankrupt their customers IIRC) worked with Paxton's office on a way to free up their customers from their debt.

    Customers aren't liable for their bills to Griddy ($29.1M in bills) and they're looking into ways to refund anyone that may have already paid their bills.

    I'm glad that something is getting done and that folks like Paxton aren't completely soulless ghouls.

  16. #576
    Moderator Crissi's Avatar
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    eh, Paxtons just being lazy and only holding the middlemen acocuntable instead of the actual problem, ERCOT / PUT and the power gewnerators thatd ecided to exploit prices.

  17. #577
    Quote Originally Posted by Crissi View Post
    eh, Paxtons just being lazy and only holding the middlemen acocuntable instead of the actual problem, ERCOT / PUT and the power gewnerators thatd ecided to exploit prices.
    He's still fucking up, and the TX leadership is being useless, but at least some folks are getting some relief.

    itssomething.gif

  18. #578
    Quote Originally Posted by Crissi View Post
    eh, Paxtons just being lazy and only holding the middlemen acocuntable instead of the actual problem, ERCOT / PUT and the power gewnerators thatd ecided to exploit prices.
    Yep. Unless ERCOT roll back the price, TX tax payers will be the one paying that bill.

  19. #579
    Interesting development but not unexpected. Since it is behind paywall, I'll summarize it below.

    Texas Froze and California Burned. To Insurers, They Look Similar.
    An effort to pass on costs in Texas will echo the wildfire strategy by arguing that power companies should have taken protective steps after past cold snaps.


    A deep freeze in February left Texas with billions of dollars in damage from cascading power failures that stranded residents in their dark and flooded homes. And insurance companies are hoping they can pass the bill on — just as they did when wildfires engulfed California.

    Two months after the storm crippled large swaths of Texas, insurers are sketching out a legal strategy to pin the costs on utilities and power companies that they say failed to adequately prepare for bitterly cold weather.

    The strategy echoes an approach that worked after the devastating California wildfires of 2017 and 2018, when equipment owned by Pacific Gas & Electric sparked blazes that wiped out entire communities. At stake could be more than $10 billion in insured losses for insurers and their business partners, as well as almost-certain premium increases for property owners if the insurers have to pay for the damage themselves.

    But the insurers face longer odds in Texas: Decades of deregulation have made the state’s power grid a dizzying web of companies that could make determining fault tricky. Insurers will also have to show that the damage was the result of “gross negligence” — a higher bar than in California.

    The insurers say the power companies and utilities failed to prepare for a major winter storm, even though past cold snaps and climate-change data had made the danger clear. In 1989 and 2011, wintry weather caused so much damage that state and federal regulators spent months investigating the causes and issued detailed recommendations for hardening the electrical system against storms.

    “They knew in 1989 and even earlier that their systems weren’t winterized, and it doesn’t look like anybody did anything,” said Lawrence T. Bowman, a lawyer in Dallas who represents insurers in liability disputes. Electric utilities in Texas operate as de facto monopolies and were required to use “reasonable diligence” to ensure a consistent supply of power, he said.

    “That’s the essence of the claim, that these participants had market power and failed to exercise it in a way to meet their mandate,” Mr. Bowman said.

    Although it will be months before the insurers process all their policyholders’ claims, Mr. Bowman is already gearing up for the court battle. Once the claims come in, insurers have as little as 30 days to notify the power companies of their intentions, and Mr. Bowman said he had already sent about a hundred such letters to power companies. He declined to name the insurers he is representing.

    None of the big property insurers that recovered money from PG&E — State Farm, Allstate, the Hartford and Travelers — were willing to comment on possible claims against power providers in Texas. But Camille Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Council of Texas, an industry group, said the “massive property losses are largely the fault of the energy companies.” If the insurers manage to recover money from them, she said, “our customers will benefit, by potentially recovering part or all of their deductible.”

    But determining responsibility for damage will be far harder than in California, where the fault for a particular fire could be traced to a single big utility.

    In Texas, there are dozens of smaller companies — some of which have gone bankrupt since the storm — that interact with one another in myriad ways. The supply chain starts where natural gas is extracted from the ground and continues through pipeline operators, generating stations, electric-transmission utilities, pass-through entities and others. Outages at some power plants stopped the pumps that move natural gas through pipelines to other plants, causing them to go down as well.

    Kerri Dunn, a spokeswoman for Oncor, the power company with the largest market share in Texas, declined to comment on possible claims by property insurers. But she said the fault for the cascade of power failures didn’t necessarily belong to utilities. Oncor and others handle only the transmission and distribution of electricity, relying on other companies to generate power, bill customers and perform other tasks.

    CenterPoint, the utility that serves Houston, said that it was committed to working with the government and others on addressing issues related to the storm but that it could not comment on the insurers’ efforts, citing pending litigation. The power-plant owners Luminant and Entergy Texas did not respond to messages seeking comment.

    ERCOT’s liability insurer isn’t taking any chances, though. Last week, the Cincinnati Insurance Company filed a lawsuit in federal court in Texas seeking a ruling that it has no duty to provide a legal defense for ERCOT, or to make it whole for the sums it would have to pay for property damage or injuries. ERCOT bought a liability-insurance policy from Cincinnati, but the insurer said that the coverage applied only to damage caused by accidents, and that the harm from February’s power outages was “foreseeable, expected and/or intended.”

    Estimates of the damage from the storm vary greatly, but none are small. Karen Clark & Company, which models catastrophe losses, has predicted that insured losses from the storm will reach $18 billion, spread over 20 states. But the firm says more than half the losses were in Texas, which years ago isolated itself from neighboring grids, making it impossible for unaffected providers to pick up the slack.

    The damage was so extensive that freelance adjusters had to be flown in from other states just to handle all the claims.

    “Some families couldn’t get hold of their insurance companies for weeks,” said Tom Formeller, a stucco and exterior-painting contractor in Houston who reinvented himself as an emergency plumber after the storm.

    In normal times, he said, families would have paid him upfront for the repairs, then waited for their insurance checks. But with unemployment high from the pandemic, some families didn’t have the cash, so Mr. Formeller capped their pipes for free and told them to pay when they could.

    “I had one 78-year-old woman, by herself, who’d been going without water for nine days,” he said. The woman told Mr. Formeller that she would get a loan to pay him, but he sorted out the delay with her insurer and completed $13,000 in repairs.

    Even if the power suppliers are forced to pick up the costs of damage from the winter storm, it’s not clear what — if any — steps they might take to prepare for the next one. In a recent survey of Texans by the University of Houston, about half rejected the notion of winter-proofing the grid if it meant they would pay more for power.

  20. #580
    Herald of the Titans bladeXcrasher's Avatar
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    So much liberty in Texas /s

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