Saturday, February 5, 2011

Texas Begs Mexico for Power

« Police officers direct traffic after access roads to airline terminals were closed at DFW International Airport on February 1, in Dallas, Texas.
(Getty Images)
Mexico came to the rescue of Texas on Wednesday to keep residents from freezing. Texas power grids buckled under the increased demand and severe cold that has hit the state just prior to this weekend’s Super Bowl game.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said experts were working with utilities to ensure power was restored as quickly as possible. “Until that happens, I urge businesses and residents to conserve electricity to minimize the impact of this event,” he said.
According to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, cold weather knocked out 50 of the state’s power plants. That, coupled with the higher demand for heat, brought down the state’s grid—resulting in rolling power brownouts.
So far, Mexico’s state electricity company has been able to supply electricity to Texas to help keep homes warm and businesses functioning. Three Mexican cities (Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Piedras Negras) are now powering homes north of the border despite the fact that Mexico is also experiencing record low temperatures that have paralyzed air transport, factory operations and shuttered schools.
Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission said it was “determined to support Texas with electrical energy” until the state was able to cope with the climatological conditions on its own.
The fact that Texas was forced to ask Mexico for power to keep the lights on shows the fine line of unpreparedness that Texas is walking. It is also a stark reminder of just how powerless society can be in the face of extreme weather.