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Winter Storm 2021

Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left the state's power grid vulnerable to winter extremes, experts say

Texas officials knew winter storms could leave the state’s power grid vulnerable, but they left the choice to prepare for harsh weather up to the power companies — many of which opted against the costly upgrades. That, plus a deregulated energy market largely isolated from the rest of the country’s power grid, left the state alone to deal with the crisis, experts said.

Powerline infrastructure in San Marcos on Feb. 16, 2021.

Winter Storm 2021

As Texas faced record-low temperatures in February 2021 and snow and ice made roads impassable, the state’s electric grid operator lost control of the power supply, leaving millions without access to electricity. As the blackouts extended from hours to days, top state lawmakers called for investigations into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and Texans demanded accountability for the disaster. The Texas Tribune covered the impact of the storm in real time and continues to bring accountability coverage as officials address the issues exposed by the storm. 

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February Winter Storm 2021

  • When will my water come back? How can I get water in the meantime?

  • Will I get a large energy bill?

  • How can I get updates?

  • I was without power for more than a day. Why are people calling these rolling outages?

  • Wait, we have our own power grid? Why?

  • I read online that wind turbines are the reason we lost power. Is that true?

  • How can I stay warm? How can I help others?

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Climate wake-up call

History of isolation

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