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Texas Learns Hard Lesson, PA Sends Help

By: Megan Talley 2/25/21

Photo Courtesy: Texas Tribune


The winter weather disaster in Texas has caused outrage all over the state and the country. Many are still without power and water as the relief is slowly creeping in.


But, this is something the state dealt with about ten years ago, in 2011. Steven Buraczyk, Senior Vice President of Operations at El Paso Electric Company, remembers it well.


“We had over three days when the Temperature here in El Paso never got over freezing,” says Buraczyk “And we lost most of our local units, those impacts lasted for weeks and weeks after. We made the decision to harden our assets, invest in new technology and invest in new infrastructure.”


While El Paso joins the Western US’s electric grid, and Pennsylvania sticks on the Easter US, 90% of Texas is on its own grid to avoid certain federal regulations. That power grid, called ERCOT, is being criticized by residents for how unprepared they were for the sub-freezing temperatures.


In one county alone, 16 residents froze to death due to the power outages. And Governor Greg Abbott is taking the hit.


“I’m taking responsibility for the current status of ERCOT,” says Abbott. “Again, I find what’s happened unacceptable.”


And here in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf has taken measures to make sure PA residents are safe during serious winter storms. The Commonwealth continues to use response centers throughout the state during winter storms to ensure safety on the roads and at home.


And now, Mennonite Disaster Service, a group out of Lancaster County, is joining the relief effort. The mid state group will send plumbers to volunteer and help clean up and fix burst pipes in San Antonio and Houston.

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