OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
If your area is suffering from unusual or severe winter weather, you are not alone. Approximately 60 percent of the United States is experiencing snow or ice, while the southeastern states are under an unending deluge of rain. The month of February has seen a vicious cold front hit almost every state for anywhere from a day to weeks at a time.
Thunder sleet, single-digit temperatures, and record-setting deep freezes covered Texas this week. Yes, I said thunder sleet! It sounds like a scene out of ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.
The weather caused some wind turbines to freeze, rendering them useless. Kind of like solar energy on a cloudy day. When you live in an area known for producing gas and oil, and you abandon those choices for unreliable green energy, you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot. According to the Austin American-Statemen, of the 25,100 megawatts of energy wind turbines can generate in Texas, 12,000 of those megawatts could not be generated due to the ice. Wind power accounts for 23% of the Texas energy grid.
The failure was not only in wind energy. The utilities in Texas were simply not built with these unprecedented temperatures in mind. Power outages were inevitable.
Right as the winter weather set into Texas, Griddy, a utility company providing energy at wholesale market prices for a flat monthly fee, encouraged their customers to switch energy providers and warned that demand for power could make prices astronomical.
They were NOT lying.
Griddy’s customers found that as demand for power soared amid the raging storm, the normal $50 per megawatt-hour price quickly adjusted to match the going market rate — which climbed to over $9,000 per megawatt-hour.
One customer paid $450 for ONE DAY of electricity. Another paid $8,162.73 for the month of February. Holy yelling-at-my-kids-for-leaving-the-lights-on! Can you IMAGINE??
Some customers tried to switch over to other providers but found that power companies were worried about taxing their infrastructure and were not in a hurry to obtain new customers. The choice for many was to pay an insane power bill or to simply go cold.
A few years ago (while my husband was deployed, of course!) my kids and I were stranded at home for three days when an ice storm took out all of the power in the area. It wasn’t fun sleeping in front of the fireplace and trying to keep a fire going 24/7 while lounging in our winter jackets and cooking every meal on the grill, but it was doable.
People who rely on medical equipment to keep them alive have no such luxury.
If your home doesn’t have a generator, it may be time for the investment. Some of the benefits of living in such a great country are the everyday luxuries, but they are easy to take for granted. Many of our homes and our lives are tied to conveniences that we do not control ourselves. When we lose the ability to provide for our families independently, we put ourselves at the mercy of the companies that provide for us. The laws of supply-and-demand are not always kind.
It’s not just the United States being confronted with bizarre, historic weather. The United Arab Emirates just experienced a record low temperature of negative two degrees Celsius in Abu Dhabi accompanying rare frosts and snowfall. The area hasn’t seen temperatures anywhere close to that since 1971. If you want to know why Greece, Turkey, North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, basically every region of the Northern Hemisphere, is experiencing ‘WTF’ weather, you can check out the destabilization of the Polar Vortex that usually maintains equilibrium over the North Pole. I personally like to think it’s the world’s way of trying to vomit out the poison that is the Biden presidency, but that’s just me.
Funny enough, Green Energy Joe sent generators and diesel fuel to Texas to help with their energy crisis. Maybe he forgot he was trying to phase out fossil fuels?