Is Texas prepared for another winter storm? Some experts don't think so

Pooja Lodhia Image
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Are we prepared for another winter storm? Some experts don't think so
Two bills were enacted this summer to help prevent power outages in the event of a weather emergency, but some people are pointing out loopholes.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Six months after February's winter storm that killed 210 Texans, people are still recovering, and many are asking if the state is any better prepared if another storm hits.

"I have an elderly father who is on oxygen, and I couldn't get to him," said Houstonian Robin Carr. "He was in Galveston. He couldn't get anybody to come out and bring more oxygen. It was hard."

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Two bills were enacted this summer, but now many are pointing out loopholes.

"We are not truly better prepared. The law has so many loopholes. It would be an unfunded mandate, but for the extended duration that permits them to not implement them, and the requirement that they self-designate," said Dietrich von Biedenfeld with the University of Houston-Downtown.

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Electricity generators have until the end of 2022 to fix equipment to withstand more extreme weather. But, natural gas companies get to decide themselves if they want to upgrade.

"The electricity generators are ready, but they don't have a supply of natural gas to make electricity," said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, the chief energy officer at the University of Houston. "That's where the loophole is. It's really securing the whole supply chain. That's the key part to this."

A representative from the Railroad Commission of Texas, which is in charge of implementing the new laws, said Texans will see more rules adopted in the coming months.

"Hopefully it won't happen again, but if it does, I wouldn't be surprised," Carr said. "I don't have much faith in it."

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