Presidents’ Day Texas Power Outage 2021

Infrequent zero-degree Fahrenheit Texas Winter weather brought the Texas power grid to its wobbly knees. My home in Frisco, Texas (just North of Dallas) suffered a 36-hour continuous total outage with zero (0 F.) degree outdoor temperatures.

My home is total electric (100%) with no other energy source. When indoor temperature dropped to 50 degrees F. we were forced to abandon home. I was in total panic of water system freeze and extreme property water damage due to frozen water pipes.

Faucets were left dripping but no assurance of the home not going below 32 degrees for an extended period and total water freeze occurring. This would severely damage the home structure and most of the contents. I did not sleep well away from home. Warm but not comfortable at my daughter’s (Shel) home in Plano, TX.

Power was restored after 36 hours and first report from my son Steven (who immediately went to the house to inspect) was the house had no broken water pipes or visible damage. Indoor temp was 50 degrees and heat on when he arrived. No clue how cold it got inside but likely 40 to 45 or so degrees.

I was suffering severe anguish over what may have happened overnight. We were very lucky and thankful our home is a SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) with 12-inch sidewalls and 12-inch insulated roof attic filled with structural foam insulation. A very high R-Factor best for electrically heated homes. But we also have a very large glass surface exposed North which is a high loss surface.

We pulled through by vacating the cold residence, experiencing much discomfort and anxiety about leaving, but receiving no property damage during our absence. Our daughter’s home was warn and has experienced NO power outage. Our son (in McKinney, TX) is still experiencing ongoing rolling 50/50 blackouts at his home. The very worst may be over but the weather and power problems will continue to the end of the week.

Many Texas homes will or are not so lucky. My kids have friends that suffered frozen pipe damage just as I imagined for my home. The unlucky ones.

I think this event ventures into extreme negligence and perhaps criminal intent to permit the Texas power network capacity and management to fall this far behind worst case electrical power needs for the state of Texas. Poorly attempting a rolling blackout that did and could not work. Over selling network capacity (Like over booking an airline flight) where some people must be deliberate losers.  Zero public communications on what was happening. The list of management and equipment faults is long.

I would be suing for damages if I suffered any property loss. I have seen no reports but there could also be loss of life involved with this widespread obvious negligence. Some deaths were reported from carbon monoxide. No details reported how or why (more cover-up?). Certainly desperate attempt to stay warm.

Yes, it is a rare cold weather occurrence for Texas but one that can easily be foreseen, as it has happened before. Worst case planning can allow inconvenience and execute properly functioning rolling blackouts. BUT, non-accidental human managed long period power outage in sub-zero (F) conditions is unacceptable. Such action is total incompetence to plan and execute professional grade power management.

Texas can and must do better electrical power management. Today we cannot trust our homes and lives to “Total Electrical Energy” systems. It is far from a dependable energy resource for Texans.

~Dan Kautz, CEM, BEP, CSDP