The Legal Implications Of The First Court Of Appeals Ruling On The Texas Winter Storm Power Failure
Back in 2021, Texas was hit with Winter Storm Uri which didn't leave any part of the state untouched. It hit all areas, including the Gulf Coast.
The storm caused the power structure to crumble. The storm caused power generators, windmills, and natural gas chains to freeze up. This led to a blackout all across Texas. Millions of Texans were without power for weeks, and some for over a month. The only areas of Texas that were safe were the Texas Panhandle, El Paso, and parts of East Texas because they were on a different power grid. Unfortunately, hundreds of Texans lost their lives in the storm partially due to the power failure.
Lawsuits followed not long after the storm due to the power failure
A ruling was currently made about the incident. According to KUT,
A panel of judges from the First Court of Appeals in Houston ruled that big power companies cannot be held liable for failure to provide electricity during a crisis because of the deregulated energy market.
If another storm hits and the power grid fails once again, these power companies cannot be held liable for not being able to provide power. No one will be able to sue them for loss of life, loss of property, or loss of income due to not being able to provide electricity in a crisis. This will now be the precedent for future cases.
What's been done to keep a repeat of 2021
According to an article on DallasFed.org,
- Weatherization standards for energy facilities were updated, including requirements for the Texas Rail Road Commission to update requirements for natural gas.
- Natural Gas facilities were mapped out to ensure that those critical facilities would still receive power during rolling blackouts.
- ERCOT made management and grid operation changes, requiring more thermal power generation held in reserve.
Although major changes have been made to avoid another crisis like the one in 2021, the power grid still has vulnerabilities.
Most recently with the cold snap, Texans were asked to conserve power during specified times, an even some school districts in the state chose to close the schools during this time to save energy.
Let's hope we never see anything like 2021 again. In the meantime, it's best to have your home prepared just in case another winter crisis falls upon Texas.
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