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Now we get to worry about food

Because the supply chain also suffered from the massive power outages.

Now would be a good time to donate

The state’s week of weather hell started with a deadly 133-car pileup outside of Fort Worth. A winter storm unlike any Texas has ever seen quickly followed, and seven days later, millions are without power and reliable water.

And now Texans are running out of food. From farm to table, freezing temperatures and power outages are disrupting the food supply chain that people rely on every day.

Across the state, people are using up supplies they had stockpiled and losing more as items start to spoil in dark refrigerators. Some are storing their remaining rations in coolers outside, and trips to the grocery store often do little to replenish pantries.

“It was out of meat, eggs and almost all milk before I left,” Cristal Porter, an Austin resident, said about her local Target which she visited Monday. “Lines were wrapped around the store when we arrived. … Shelves were almost fully cleared for potatoes, meat, eggs and some dairy.”

Two days later, one of Porter’s neighbors went to that same Target, and the store was completely out of food, with no sign of additional shipments arriving or employees restocking shelves.

With grocery stores across the state shuttered for lack of power, supermarkets that remain open have seen supplies dwindle, shortages that ripple over to food pantries that count on grocery store surplus to keep their own shelves stocked.

Meanwhile, fruit and vegetable crops in the Rio Grande Valley have frozen over in what The Produce News described as a “Valentine’s Day produce massacre.” School districts from Fort Worth to Houston have halted meal distributions to students for the next several days, and Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said dairy farmers around the state are pouring $8 million worth of milk down the drain every day because they can’t get it to dairies.

Celia Cole, the CEO of hunger-relief organization Feeding Texas, said that so far, eight food banks have asked the state for extra help feeding their communities. Several food banks affiliated with Feeding Texas have also started providing food supplies to emergency warming shelters in the state’s major cities. Wednesday afternoon, the Central Food Bank of Texas canceled its deliveries scheduled for Thursday in Austin and Rockdale.

“The Food Bank’s fleet, equipment, facilities and operations have been adversely impacted by the extremely low temperatures, and hazardous road conditions are hindering our staff and volunteers from getting to our building safely,” the organization announced in a media alert. “These conditions are also keeping us from distributing food safely.”

[…]

Between the current strain on grocery stores and the potential for huge damages to the state’s agricultural sector, this storm could hamper food access for weeks to come. Miller and Cole emphasized that it’s impossible to know the extent of the losses until power returns, but the food supply will continue to drain unless farmers and stores get electricity back soon.

“They’ve been very, very badly hit – the agricultural sector, generally —by the pandemic, so they’re already struggling,” Cole said. “And so I think although the impact if the power gets restored quickly might not be huge in absolute terms, it’s hitting a sector that’s already reeling from the pandemic.”

There’s likely not much that we could have done about the effect the weather had on the crops and animals themselves. But the loss of power, and the extreme disruption it has caused not just in people’s daily lives but in the food supply chain, that’s a risk that cannot be considered acceptable. I’ve gone into this plenty of times now and won’t repeat myself here, but it’s important to keep the human misery factor in mind as much as the actual dollars-and-cents cost of this past week. That’s as good a segue as any to this reminder that the Houston Food Bank needs all the help it can get right now to meet the need caused by the storm and the blackouts.

Like many others in Harris County, residents at Big Bass Resort in Jacinto City had run low on groceries by Thursday. After the winter storm iced roads and kept millions holed up without water and power, Texas officials anticipate major food shortages in the days and weeks to come, prompting the Houston Food Bank to kick start mass food giveaways that are already ramping up through the weekend.

Calls from residents in need have led the food bank to expect long lines at facilities where its partner groups distribute their food. The food bank has a massive reach across southeast Texas, with 159 million meals provided across 18 counties during the past fiscal year, according to spokeswoman Paula Murphy.

“The food bank and all the partners we work with, we’re almost like the last resort,” said Brian Greene, president and CEO of the organization. “It can, for a lot of households, be the difference between getting by and tragedy.”

Aside from any issues grocery stores might have restocking their shelves, most food shortages equate to income shortages, Greene said. Families who were already struggling financially – some still recovering from past floods and others laid off during the pandemic – might be experiencing rougher situations after losing a week’s worth of income due to an inability to work during the freeze.

Some money that was spent on food before the storm likely went to waste, as a lack of electricity caused refrigerated or frozen items to spoil, Greene said. And unforseen expenses from building damage can make affording food difficult.

Greene expects food shortages to mirror experiences during hurricanes. A large number of households need aid in the first few days after a storm, and then the number trickles down to low-income households that sustained significant damage, he said.

Because of the anticipated needs, Harris County officials have urged out-of-state supporters to donate to the food bank.

“Even as the lights come back on, we’re facing a food and water crisis in Harris County, Texas,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted Thursday.

If you’re not Ted Cruz and are looking for a way to help go to and make a donation or sign up to volunteer. Direct your out-of-town friends and family who want to help there as well. This really is like the immediate after-effect of a hurricane.

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34 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    If people bothered to put in a modicum of effort, they should not have lost ANY food from the fridge. My frozen stuff remained frozen by keeping it outside, in an ice chest, with the ice from the icemaker dumped in. I didn’t even lose the half gallon of milk. The worst, I believe, was that the Blue Bell got a little soft. Works fine for milkshakes.

    I am eating the stuff from my fridge and will finish that off before I even attempt a trip to the store. Yes, I need vegetables, as I am down to just carrots, celery and potatoes at this point. I’ll live. Still have Wu flu stock up stuff from last year, too.

    Unlike a Summer hurricane, no one should have lost ANY food from this coldpocalypse.

    Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

  2. Lobo says:

    SMART ALECK FALLACY.

    Bill: Thanks for sharing your idiosyncratic experience. Just because u r okay doesn’t mean everybody else is or is in like condition.

  3. b says:

    Wolf,

    Is there anyone in this area that did not have sustained freezing weather, or an area outside their apartment or home that they could place food in?

    Where is this miracle place that was warm, or where there is no outside to place food?

    I will concede that some parts of town putting anything outside is an invitation to having it stolen, so those folks might not have the same experience. Still, they should blame their criminal neighbors for that, not me.

    The upside to all this is, it provides all of us, individually, an impetus to rotate stock. FIFO. First in, first out. Also, this is an excellent time to do a deep clean of our refrigerators and pantries.

    I will correct the record
    I actually chose to toss out some home made spaetzle from back in 2013. It was in the back of the freezer, I had forgotten about it. Sucks, because it offends my practical German sensibilities to waste food.

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    Is there anyone in this area that did not have sustained freezing weather, or an area outside their apartment or home that they could place food in?

    Where is this miracle place that was warm, or where there is no outside to place food?

    I will concede that some parts of town putting anything outside is an invitation to having it stolen, so those folks might not have the same experience. Still, they should blame their criminal neighbors for that, not me.

    The upside to all this is, it provides all of us, individually, an impetus to rotate stock. FIFO. First in, first out. Also, this is an excellent time to do a deep clean of our refrigerators and pantries.

    I will correct the record
    I actually chose to toss out some home made spaetzle from back in 2013. It was in the back of the freezer, I had forgotten about it. Sucks, because it offends my practical German sensibilities to waste food.

  5. robert says:

    Bill,

    But what about the supply chain, as mentioned and empty shelves. What will you do when you can’t get more…..blame the Dem Mayor ,no doubt.

  6. Mrs. K says:

    I cant believe you can be that cold hearted and harsh. You are truly one of the many little demons that Satan sends out to do his work. You have been blessed and have the nerve to speak like that. What about people who didn’t hv money to even buy an ice chest. You need to apologize to God for your evil words and thoughts. Because guess what love it can happen to you at any time. I pray for you. I pray that you never experience what others have. What about the elderly that lost their lives or that 10 yr old that lost his. We didn’t loose our food thank the Lord. But you wen the time comes for something bad to happen U BETTER NOT ASK WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO YOU!!!! It’s always people like you asking that question. I hate that I read your comment. It makes me sick n want to cry that you even think like that. I’m assuming that you don’t worship God because God is all about love. So you have to be a devils spawn. I wanted to just curse you TF out but why should I? I’m asking you to pray for forgiveness. Karma is a MF n itay not hit you but someone close to you. IM DONE TALKING TP YOUR IGNORANT TAIL!!!! We are living in the last days honey and if you dnt kno wat that means look it up in Revelation. Things will get worse. But The Lord God does say if you turn from ypur wicked ways he will fix this. Now I’ve done my job by informing your ignorant tail. Good day!!!

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    Robert,

    The long term lessons for all of us, that the hurricane season recommendations for being prepared to tough it out for a couple of weeks should be a year long recommendation. What did Ed Emmett recommend? Have a plan? That. Have a plan.

    Also, if anyone here needs canned chili, or the like so they won’t starve, let me know and I can hook you up. I am down to my last few pounds of rice from the 20 lb. sack of Adolphus I bought last year, but I can send some of that, too.

    The main issue I see is lack of produce for a while, which will suck, but we will live. Our ancestors survived much greater deprivation, and probably,with much less angst and complaining. We are becoming a nation of soft people. That isn’t a good thng.

  8. Wu Flu? Somebody get an extra large needle and give Daniels a CORONAVIRUS vaccination up his anal orifice.

    As other non-idiots have said, the supplies have been an issue. North Texas? Nary a loaf of bread on shelves.

    Otherwise, Bill … people had only limited amounts of time to prepare before the weather came, and had priorities. Also, they didn’t know how badly Rethugulicans (HELPED by ConservaDems in the Lege back in the time of Mr. Laura Miller, aka Steve Wolens) and electric dereg would make this. (And, yes, #BlueAnon types, take note of what’s in the first parenthesis. I’ll be mentioning it in more detail later this week.)

  9. Flypusher says:

    Concerning having supplies, yes you can do that, provided that you are not living paycheck to paycheck. Lots of people had little to no financial reserves, and the pandemic made it worse. I also don’t want to hear the broad brush accusations that all those people were sending what money they had frivolously, because it’s not true for everyone who is poor. Now for those people who had resources and didn’t prepare you can have an “I told so you” on the house, then it’s time to think about how to do better next time.

    I’ve critically evaluated my response to this crisis. For food and water and small battery operated appliances (radios/ flashlights) my preparation was adequate. As for longer term emergency lighting and recharging phones, that was subpar and I’ve already placed the orders. I’ve also ID’ed some insulation deficiencies in the house, and that will be addressed this spring.

  10. Betty says:

    We brought groceries before the storm that lasted through the storm, because we couldn’t go to work last week we don’t have money for food to go to the store, I praise God that the ones that do have food,water and electricity . And I pray all is safe.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    What I will do to better prepare:

    Install 220 Watt plug by breaker box, so I can run a pigtail from my generator to back feed the house after isolating it from the grid. That will give me all the natural gas fired heat I want.

    Didn’t need it this time, but stockpile more gasoline if this is predicted again.

    get a 12v inverter. I will bring in a battery from a tractor, or one of the truck batteries and use the inverter to charge phones, and run small things when not running the generator.

    Upgrade attic insulation. I redid some after Ike and I could tell the difference, especially in the Summer. Go for the full R-30 in the attic.

    Fill more 5 gallon jugs with water and keep them always on hand.

    Didn’t need it, but make sure both propane bottles are full. I usually drain both, then refill. What if I lost natural gas? Still need to cook.

    Otherwise, I think I did well on food, pipe wrapping, helping neighbors and friends, etc.

    Finally, I think my avocado tree growing attempts are done. Despite hanging Christmas lights on them, covering with sheets and plastic, they all succumbed to the cold. Bummer.

  12. Jason Hochman says:

    Like Bill I tossed milk and a few other items out into the backyard when it became clear the refrigerator would be off for quite a while. No critters got into the things that I put outside. I am not sure how to cook rice and pasta, because the water is still all rusty, although the city now says it is safe to drink.

    I’ve kept the water off, as a pipe sprung a small leak, and I turn it back on to fill up when needed. Mayor Turner was incorrect when he said to call 311 if you have a water leak or see one, and that the city will be out to shut off the water for you, in order to save water pressure for fire fighting, hospitals, car washes. I did call for my house, and also for a leak I saw in the neighborhood, and the city never came. I ended up shutting my water off with a big crescent wrench until I found the special wrench for shutting off water. I knew it was here someplace. Mayor Turner doesn’t know what is going on with the city, although he does have an encyclopedic knowledge of what other body is responsible to do something–the state, the school district, the feds. Anyone but His Honor. If I am elected mayor, I promise that I will tell you what I am going to do, and not what someone else should have done.

    Tony Buzbee is representing the family of the ten year old who died, and they are asking 10 million dollars in damages from ERCOT and Entergy. Perhaps there was a prescience in not electing Buzbee mayor so that he can do this good work. The family won’t be living in a trailer anymore if they win a judgment. Of course, right now, there is not a cause of death, so the lawsuit can’t go anywhere without medical evidence, but they claim he had no comorbidities. I bet that he didn’t get to see his grandparents at the holidays, because the experts led us to believe that if we just skip this year, we can all get together next year. Not his family, sadly. They are so obsessed with the novel virus that they think nobody will ever die again from anything else.

    Our county leadership said that this would be like a category five hurricane. Instead of using panic, they should have told us the truth: the state at all levels is run by incompetent and greedy parties and the entire infrastructure is going to collapse from a minor cold snap. I hope that they are preparing for the possible ice age that many experts are predicting as the sun is going into a phase of its cycle that is lunch break, and it won’t be heating us up too much.

  13. Manny says:

    Dang Jason you live in your own crazy world of lies, but then again I believe you are a butt, oops bot.

  14. Bill Daniels says:

    Hey, lookie here, we have found the bad guy here that is to blame…..the Biden Department of Energy!

    https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2021/02/f82/DOE%20202%28c%29%20Emergency%20Order%20-%20ERCOT%2002.14.2021.pdf

    “Because the additional generation may result in a conflict with environmental standards and requirements, I am authorizing only the necessary additional generation, with reporting requirements as described below.FPA section 202(c)(2) requires the Secretary of Energy to ensure that any 202(c) order that may result in a conflict with a requirement of any environmental law be limited to the “hours necessary to meet the emergency and serve the public interest, and, to the maximum extent practicable,” be consistent with any applicable environmental law and minimize any adverse environmental impacts. ERCOT anticipates that this Order may result in exceedance of emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury, and carbon monoxide emissions, as well as wastewater release limits. To minimize adverse environmental impacts, this Order limits operation of dispatched units to the times and within the parameters determined by ERCOT for reliability purposes.Based on my determination of an emergency set forth above, I hereby order….”

    The EO shows the Biden administration basically ordered ERCOT to throttle its energy output by forcing it to comply with environmental green energy standards, while knowing full well Texans could freeze to death in their homes with zero electricity as temperatures plunged. I mean, if there was ever a time to dispense with the rules, to keep the power on, this week would have been just as good as any, but I’m sure those dead and negatively impacted appreciate the Biden regime’s commitment to the environment. Thanks for your sacrifice, y’all!

    Read the whole order for yourselves, folks. It’s a doozy!

  15. Jason Hochman says:

    Manny, I would love it if you could point out a lie that I told. Do you know whether or not I put the milk in my backyard? Do you know whether or not the city came to shut off the water at my house?

  16. brad says:

    “I didn’t even lose the half gallon of milk. The worst, I believe, was that the Blue Bell got a little soft. Works fine for milkshakes.”

    …..and listeria.

  17. Manny says:

    Okay, Jason, just some of the few lies that you posted and why I think you are a bot.

    The boy is eleven years old.

    They sued for 100 million.

    Threw things out in the backyard? Most people would have put them inside a garbage bag at least; most people used ice coolers.

    I see people saying they put milk out to freeze, which can be done, but it loses flavor if it was not brought in before it started thawing. One risked having bad milk if not thawed properly.

    The water that I am using is clear as it was before the freeze. While it may be possible that iron from galvanized piping may come out, it will clear after a few minutes at most.

    Not sure what you are referring to as to what the county told people to use as precautions, but preparing for a hurricane would have been appropriate. In 70 years of having gone through numerous hurricanes losing water had never happened. That was the State’s fault and no one else. In fact, the state or their representatives lied;

    They first said only a handful were without power; they lied. Then they said 98,000 they lied. They finally admitted that there were millions of people without power. I knew they were lying because I have two brothers that live here, we are in different parts of the city, and we were all without power. We all lost it at about the same time 2 a.m. early Monday morning.

    Not getting to your house immediately does not mean the city would not get around to turn the water off.

    The following is pure nonsense from a person not living in reality;

    “Our county leadership said that this would be like a category five hurricane. Instead of using panic, they should have told us the truth: the state at all levels is run by incompetent and greedy parties, and the entire infrastructure is going to collapse from a minor cold snap.”

    The following you have to prove that it is not a lie, as I am curious what experts you will refer to?

    “I hope that they are preparing for the possible ice age that many experts are predicting as the sun is going into a phase of its cycle that is a lunch break, and it won’t be heating us up too much.”

  18. Manny says:

    “They said” I was referring to the state agency.

  19. Manny says:

    Bill, glad to see that you are now using the Republicans/Fox latest lies and blaming the federal government that does not control the state grid. Didn’t butt face Perry say we Texans would rather live in the dark ages than let the federal government tell us what to do?

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Read the EO again. Read it slowly. Texas requested that Biden’s DoE waive the pollution regulations so Texas could unleash EVERYTHING IT HAD to address the problem.

    If ever there was a time for a “Do whatever you have to do to keep the lights on” situation, this was it. ERCOT knew it was coming, knew we might have generators go offline, knew we needed the full arsenal of production blowing and going and…..the guy you voted for put the kibosh on that.

    If the federal government had left us to our own devices, we probably wouldn’t be talking about this right now, because it probably wouldn’t have even happened. Maybe we need to declare Texas as an energy sanctuary state.

    And here’s my final thought…..law of unintended consequences. The people MOST hurt by Biden’s DoE’s decision were….the poor. Wealthy people have options. They have home house generators installed. They don’t suffer. Middle and lower middle class people like me, who have generators, bbq grills, and coolers….we didn’t suffer that much. We go out in the cold and get ‘er done, and fend for ourselves. It’s the poor, who suffered the most. It’s the poor who lost their food because if they put it outside to keep it cold, someone would have stolen the food.

    The whole point of ‘green energy,’ as Obama truthfully told us, is to necessarily make the price of energy skyrocket. Guess who that hurts, Manny? Same people who got hurt this time, because enforcing pollution rules was more important to Biden than keeping the lights on.

    Compare and contrast that with Texas’ response. What did we do about the grocery store shortage? We dropped the regulations on truckers, so they could roll without fear of being stopped and harangued by LEO’s. Allowed off road diesel to be used anywhere, so farmers could get whatever they had to market. We allowed plumbers from other states to come on in and help out, waived some of the usual licensing requirements. We threw out the rule book to just get the job done. Wish the federal government had done the same.

  21. Jason Hochman says:

    Manny, let me put your mind at ease.

    I said that the boy is ten because that was what the post from Mrs. K said. In any case, 10 or 11, he missed a lot of life he could’ve had and it is very sad.

    The 10 vs. 100 million was a typo. Must be a sticky zero key.

    Your water may be clear, but mine has had some problems. There is a major leaking city water line near my house, which I suspect is causing low pressure and other problems. Also, your water may look clear as it runs from the faucet, but fill up a bathtub or sink basin or pour it through a white coffee filter, and you may find otherwise. I would recommend running the water through your washer before doing laundry, in order to avoid staining or discoloring clothing.

    I did just put my milk and stuff out in the yard, onto some snow and ice out there, and yes, the milk did partly freeze, and the taste was a little off, but still usable, unlike if it had gone sour.

    Our county judge did, according to the Chronicle, state that this would be like a category five hurricane. I scoffed at that. Just at Christmas, I went some place with temperatures in the teens over night. It is a minor cold snap. That can’t be lie, it is subjective. Perhaps for someone this was the coldest they have experienced, but I have lived through much colder. I had no idea that electricity would go out for days, leading to water outages, and the inability of hospitals and fire departments to function. Had the county been more specific and announced that the infrastructure was going to collapse, I would have taken it seriously. As it was, the cold and a little snow or ice was no big deal to me.

    I never said that the city would never come to shut off the water, but they still haven’t. If I had just waited, well, the house would have been damaged and the water pressure to the fire hydrant would have suffered. As well, try calling the police…if they respond it will be a few hours later before someone shows up.

    You can search your Internet and find writings about people predicting a mini ice age, due to an upcoming solar minimum. I have no idea if that will come to pass or not. Experts are all self proclaimed. Anyone with a degree can be an expert these days. Certainly it would be a good idea to prepare for cold in the winter. A much better idea than believing the alarmists like Al Gore, by whose predictions New York City should be underwater by now. In fact, I recall at the start of this fall/winter, the prediction was that North America would have warmer than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation for the fall and winter season. In reality, it has been average to below average temperatures and what seems to me more rain and snow than usual. Maybe it is time to stop accepting the assumption of the climate change crowd without question, and not prepare for winter on the basis that winter doesn’t happen anymore.

    So you see, no lies. Nothing crazy. You may disagree with some of my subjective statements or opinions, and that’s fine. Everyone is different. No need to be angry or upset by that.

  22. Lobo says:

    BLAME GAME 2: HOW TO MAKE THE FIASCO BIDEN’S FAULT

    Bill: Thanks for posting the link to the Department of Energy Sun 2/14/2021 Order. Let me suggest that you follow your own advice (to others) and read it yourself in its entirety, and carefully.

    What it actually does is grant temporary exemption from emission and effluent standards/restrictions in light of the emergency. The exemption is predicated upon ERCOT declaring a Level 2 or Level 3 “Energy Emergency Alert” (EEA), and the obvious purpose is to bring online additionally generating capacity (not-so-clean power generation units) for the duration of the impending crunch. The emergency permission to exceed federal environmental standards is coupled with a reporting requirement, as it should, and is limited in time for the duration of the disaster.

    If you can’t be bothered to peruse the entire 4-page document, let me direct your attention to the penultimate paragraph, and the last sentence in particular:

    “F. This Order shall be effective upon its issuance, and shall expire at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time Friday, February 19, 2021, with the exception of the reporting requirements in paragraph E. Renewal of this Order, should it be needed, must be requested before this Order expires.”

    That final sentence in itself is revealing. Why would ERCOT have to request a renewal if the request to exceed applicable emissions standards had been *DENIED* (rather then GRANTED), as you falsely spin the thrust of this order?

    Here is the most relevant part of the DOE order regarding the time-frame and conditionality:

    “From February 14, to February 19, 2021, in the event that ERCOT determines that generation from the Specified Resources is necessary to meet the electricity demand that ERCOT anticipates in Texas during this event, I direct ERCOT to dispatch such unit or units and to order their operation only as needed to maintain the reliability of the power grid in the ERCOT region when the demand on the ERCOT system exceeds expected energy and reserve requirements.”

    I read that as authorizing the use of “dirty” generating units over the course of the entire power shortfall crisis because the demand exceeded expected supply throughout. Additionally the emergency relief provided by the DOE Order environmental standards even extended to Energy Emergency Alert Level 2, which does not even implicate “controlled” demand reduction, i.e. deliberately imposed blackouts to reduce demand.

    Is there any other reading?

  23. Manny says:

    Thanks Lobo, but Bill will continue with the lies.

    Jason, I pointed out lies, they were lies as printed.

    You mentioned the experts you find them.

  24. Jason Hochman says:

    Hi Manny, you are going to be thrilled to hear that the city finally showed up about the water today (Monday) at about 5:45 PM. Better late than never.

    Nothing that I wrote was a lie. A typo is not a lie, which is an intentional deception.

    You can search for the experts. Or not. who knows if there will be a mini ice age, but experience has taught us that we need to be prepared to handle cold weather for three days. The leaders of the state knew that this would happen, and they went elsewhere before it did. But they never told the people.

  25. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    Let me direct your attention to this little chestnut:

    “This incremental amount of restricted capacity would be offered at a price no lower than $1,500/MWh.”

    You can get a little, but not enough to solve the problem, generation, but we insist that you pay out the ass for it. We’re going to punish you for the sin of wanting to keep people from freezing. This is just pure spite, Wolf.

    Ask yourself what difference it should make to Biden what price we pay for electricity in Texas? It should make no difference, unless he wanted to stick it to the state that didn’t vote for him.

  26. Manny says:

    See Lobo, Bill will continue with the lies; that is what Republicans do, they lie, they lie, and then they lie some more. They lie so much they start believing their lies.

    Jason, you can claim that they were typos and you were using someone else “facts” who had the data wrong. I guess if you are repeating Trump’s lies about massive voter fraud, would it not be a lie on your part, by your way of thinking?

  27. Lobo says:

    MINIMUM PRICE, NOT CAP

    Bill: It’s “no less* than $1,500, not “no more” that $1,500. It’s a minimum price guarantee of sorts. Not a regulated low price. Not a ceiling on the price that would be produced by the interplay of demand and supply.

    The apparent rationale for this is to prevent the dirty producers that come online under the emergency order from underbidding the cleaner competition (the generators that abide by the environmental rules), thereby gaining an undue advantage from the ability to pollute.

    Under last week’s circumstances, however, this price guarantee is probably moot for most of the affected hours of operation because there wasn’t any spare capacity left for competitive pricing dynamics to play out. Instead, the price surged to the max of $9,000 per MWh set by ERCOT and/or PUCT. The PUC actually adjusted the pricing mechanism in an emergency meeting in view of the dire scarcity conditions after ERCOT declared an Emergency Energy Alert Level 3 (EEA3), due to exceptionally high electric demand exceeding supply.

    See here: https://www.puc.texas.gov/51617WinterERCOTOrder.pdf

    “Energy Prices Lower than System-Wide Offer Cap During Load-Shed Event.
    ERCOT has informed the Commission that energy prices across the system are clearing at less than $9,000, which is the current system-wide offer cap pursuant to 16 TAC § 25.505(g)(6)(B). At various times today, energy prices across the system have been as low as approximately $1,200. The Commission believes this outcome is inconsistent with the fundamental design of the ERCOT market. Energy prices should reflect scarcity of the supply. If customer load is being shed, scarcity is at its maximum, and the market price for the energy needed to serve that load should also be at its highest.”

    So, I read this to mean that thanks to PUC action and its blessing, the wholesale power price went to the ceiling (maximum), which is why the folks with the plan based on the wholesale price ended up having their bills going through the roof, and had their direct-withdrawal bank accounts depleted). What does all that have to do with Biden?

    That said, I am not an expert on this, so if anyone can offer a better explanation of what went on, including the “Suspension of LCAP in Scarcity Pricing Mechanism Due to Abnormal Fuel Prices” (which is part of the same PUC Order) – I am eager be educated.

    Regarding the latter, let me mention in passing that according to a NYT article published last Saturday power generators may have shut off production due to high prices of fuel/gas, i.e. profitability considerations, as opposed to being forced to shut down due to equipment icing. I don’t know if that’s true, but would be worth looking into as this would be another component of market and regulatory failure under the rubric profits over people.

    If I am outright wrong, I would be grateful for being corrected.

    Bill, upon rereading your comment, I think your beef should be with the Texas policymakers and regulators, not with Biden.

    MAXIMIZING CARTEL PROFITS FROM MISERY

    What the Texas politicians set up here is an “evil” system where the producers collectively and individually do best under conditions of scarcity because the scarcity drives up the price to potentially astronomical levels, or at least to an arbitrarily set cap. So, the industry stands to profit from adverse weather events: Both the generators and the sellers of fuel (gas, coal) do. A winter storm is good for business! And should it come to a risk of a systemwide blackout, we can just cut off the human-needs consumers and let them freeze: Call it “Grid Integrity”. All that’s being produced with proper brinkmanship by ERCOT will still command top dollar!

    EMERGENCY E-POWER MANAGEMENT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

    A better system to handle emergencies would be the government temporarily commandeering the producers and making sure they run at full capacity and don’t withdraw capacity to aggravate the oh-so profitable scarcity in the market, which here involves an indispensable commodity, – indispensable at least for actual still-living human consumers. Actually dead ones too, since morgues need refrigeration (though the corpses could in theory be temporarily be put al fresco in adjoining parking garages or stored on rooftops. — With hat tip to Bill Daniels for sharing his Blue Bell Plan.)

    The government (or designated agency) would control the supply (generating capacity) and set the price, and could also control the rationing and systemwide demand reduction. This could be accompanied by a public communications strategy providing incentives for consumers to voluntarily reduce demand (lower thermostats) with the threat of charging double (or whatever) the price for the portion of KWh consumed by the consumer/household that is in excess of say 20% of the normal monthly bill for the comparison month. The pricing signal would put a dent in overall demand and would hopefully obviate the need to impose “controlled blackouts” on entire residential areas, or allow for them to be strictly time-limited and rotated (so refrigerator content would not spoil, batteries won’t be depleted, and excessive temperature drops in residential premises will be avoided).

  28. Jason Hochman says:

    Manny, I didn’t mention Trump and the voter fraud at all. If it weren’t for Trump dispersing the seditionaires we wouldn’t be in this pickle. We would have established a people’s republic without this massive utility racket. I remember Trump smashing the sedition, so that he could stand in front of the burned out shell of a church, awkwardly hoisting a Bible, as if it were a dead rodent he had found under his kitchen cabinet and he was depositing it into the trash can.

    Now we see that Biden has killed one fifth of the Covid victims, in one short month, he has killed one hundred thousand of the five hundred thousand dead. Now, experts say it is hard to imagine someone who doesn’t know a person who died from it, yet I have not even known anyone who had it, not to mention died from it.

    Yeah the ten vs. one hundred was a typo. You have a lot of rage and believe that Republicans lie, that is what they do, you say, but the fact is that the Big Two are both full of liars…that is why the sedition was started, but Trump squashed it out so that he could wave a Bible.

  29. Manny says:

    Jason, you so full of manure. I can’t figure out if you are stupid are like to lie. That is assuming that you are human and not a bot. I do not doubt that you are racist if you are human.

  30. Manny says:

    For Bill, Jason, the resident racists/bigots and particularly black people haters.

    Here is the Houston Chronicle on one of the lies that Bill and Jason like to pursue; Regarding Bill’s posting about Federal Government to blame that came straight for the Alex Jones conspiracy files.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/politifact/article/fact-check-biden-energy-texas-power-storm-infowars-15971854.php

  31. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf:

    “Bill: It’s “no less* than $1,500, not “no more” that $1,500. It’s a minimum price guarantee of sorts. Not a regulated low price.”

    Exactly my point. It’s punishment. We don’t want you to pay a reasonable price for excess power during your time of need, we want you to pay through the nose, and we want it to HURT.

    I appreciate you fervently trying to put the best spin on the 4 page document for your side, but the bottom line is it’s an M.C. Escher-esque document full of limitations and punishments.

    Can you imagine what President Trump’s response would have been to a similar appeal from ERCOT? I can.

    “Just do whatever you have to do to keep the lights on.”

    Manny:

    You posting up a Chronicle link is about on par with me posting up an OANN link. The Chron is agenda driven and biased propaganda as I see it, just as you would see OANN the same way.

    This is the basic problem with our country right now. Look at Wolf and me. We’re both thinking, rational people, and we can’t even agree on the same facts after reading the exact same 4 page document. If the document says what Wolf says it does, then why doesn’t it actually just say that? I gave a clear and concise example of how to say, “do what you have to do,” and I’m not even a political appointee.

  32. C.L. says:

    Who in their right mind believes paying a fluctuating market rate for electricity service is a good idea ? How many folks are customers of Giddy to being with ? 10 or 10,000 ?

    Who has no more than 48 hrs worth of food in their house ? Not a single person I know. Crazed folks were buying five loaves of bread at a time….because this was The Day After Tomorrow and we were going to be in a new Ice Age ? smh.

  33. Manny says:

    Bill, I keep wondering how low and crazy you are willing to go. You never disappoint.

  34. Manny says:

    C.L. if memory serves me correctly, I believe it was in the neighborhood of 30,000. They were actually paying less than most until now, and I have no idea if they knew the risk they were taking.

    If they know how to budget, including those that survive on $800 a month, most families would normally have that much for an extended period. But having been poor in my early ages, most food that is bought is cooked, rice, fideo, beans, some meat and vegetables, flour, etc. Don’t forget there are still having a roof over one’s head costs.

    A single person may not think that far ahead. They tend to cook less.

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