Tag Archives: Texas

Texas power board resigns after mass protest over blackouts.

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A notice from the Public Utility Commission of Texas said that Craig Ivey, who also lives out of state, had withdrawn his application to fill a vacant board seat.

Four board members of Texas’ power grid operator announced their resignation Tuesday after millions of state residents were left without power during days of unprecedentedly frigid temperatures.

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The board chair of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Sally Talberg, vice-chairman Peter Cramton, finance and audit committee chair Terry Bulger and human resources and governance committee chief Raymond Hepper, all of whom live out of state, will resign effective Wednesday.

“We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with the future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday, February 24, 2021,” they said in a letter to the board.

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A notice from the Public Utility Commission of Texas said that Craig Ivey, who also lives out of state, had withdrawn his application to fill a vacant board seat.

Texas was particularly hard hit as a frigid air mass paralyzed parts of the southern and central United States early last week, claiming more than 70 lives. Millions were left temporarily without power and water lines were frozen.

ERCOT, which operates much of the state’s power grid, underestimated the surge in demand caused by the unusually cold weather and used planned outages to avert an uncontrolled blackout.

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The state’s governor Greg Abbott issued a damning statement acknowledging the resignations and saying the group had “failed to do its job.”

“ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter.

“The lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations.”

Abbott has ordered an investigation into the grid operator, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has also said it will probe the factors behind the power outages.

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ERCOT reported Friday that utility operations had returned to normal, but tens of thousands were still without power into the weekend as crews struggled to repair downed lines.

President Joe Biden issued a major-disaster declaration on Saturday for much of Texas, providing badly needed financial and administrative aid, and he plans to visit the state on Friday.

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#Newsworthy

Texas scares over power outages, shortage of water.

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Power companies in Texas have implemented rolling blackouts to avoid grids being overloaded as residents crank up the heat.

Power was gradually being restored but hundreds of thousands of households remained without electricity early Thursday across Texas, the oil and gas capital of the United States, with some facing water shortages as a deadly winter cold spell that pummeled the southeastern part of the country headed east.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning for a swathe of the country ranging from east Texas to the East Coast state of Maryland.

The NWS said the storm would bring ice, sleet and heavy snow to parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi as it tracks to the northeast, causing power outages, tree damage and making driving hazardous.

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Even though the Arctic air mass was beginning to lose its grip on an area of the country not used to such extreme cold, the frigid temperatures would continue, the NWS said.

“Record cold daily maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to transpire in the South Central US through Saturday morning,” it said early Thursday.

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“The Plains and Mississippi Valley can expect daily temperature anomalies ranging between 20 and 30 degrees below normal.”

President Joe Biden was forced to postpone until Friday a visit to the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing site in Kalamazoo, Michigan, while federal government offices in Washington were to be closed Thursday.

More than 30 storm-related deaths have been reported by media in the United States since the cold weather arrived last week, many in traffic accidents.

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Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Texas metropolis of Houston were suffering from both power outages and a loss of water pressure.

“Water pressure is very low,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted. “Please do not run water to keep pipes from bursting.”

Nearly seven million Texans were being advised to boil their water before drinking it or using it for cooking, Toby Baker, who heads the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Wednesday, adding that nearly 264,000 people were impacted by non-operational water systems.

David Hernandez, 38, spent the night at a Houston church with other people who have fled their homes.

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“My car got stranded and I was trying to sleep in the car but it was just too cold,” Hernandez said. “Liquids in my car were actually turning to ice so it was like sleeping in an ice box.

“I had to come here,” he said. “There’s no choice.”

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Power companies in Texas have implemented rolling blackouts to avoid grids being overloaded as residents crank up the heat.

ERCOT, which manages the state grid, said on Wednesday it had restored power to around 1.6 million households. “We are working around the clock to restore power to Texans,” ERCOT president Bill Magness said in a statement.

According to PowerOutage.US, 674,000 customers in Texas were still without power by Thursday morning, the only one of the US’s 48 continental states to have its own independent power grid.

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– ‘Nearly a failed state’ –
Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, told MSNBC television the situation in the Lone Star State was “worse than you are hearing.”

“Folks have gone days now without electricity. They’re suffering,” he said.

“So much of this was avoidable,” O’Rourke added.

“The energy capital of North America cannot provide the energy needed to warm and power people’s homes in this great state. We are nearing a failed state in Texas.”

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Austin Energy, the local power company in the capital city of 950,000, said tens of thousands of area customers were without electricity, and that whilst they were able to start restoring power in some spots, it was not expected to stay on indefinitely.

The energy company published the locations of “warming centers” set up in local schools.

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As electricity companies struggle to get power restored, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport resumed flights on Wednesday after a two-day hiatus caused by heavy snowfall.

Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said the cold weather was impacting delivery and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.

“There’s certain parts of the country, Texas being one of them, where vaccination sites are understandably closed,” Zients said.

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“What we’re encouraging governors and other partners to do is to extend hours once they’re able to reopen.”

Many weather-related deaths so far have resulted from traffic accidents, but Houston police said a woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sitting in a car in a garage with the engine running to keep warm.

And emergency medical authorities around the state said dozens of others have been treated for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, while 77 were treated for hypothermia in northern Texas Tuesday.

A dozen animals — including one 58-year-old female chimpanzee — died during the freeze at rescue sanctuary Primarily Primates near San Antonio, the organization said on its website.

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The winter storm spawned at least four tornadoes, according to Atlanta-based weather.com, including one in North Carolina on Monday that killed at least three people and injured 10.

Across the southern border, Mexican officials said six people died after temperatures plunged.

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#Newsworthy

US Election: Trump humiliated in Texas as Biden score 11 votes ahead of him

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Final results for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are unlikely to be ready for several days, according to Reuters.

Texas went to Donald Trump despite previous hints of Biden’s growing support, according to the AP.

So far at the time of this publication, Trump has gathered 213 electoral votes while Biden has gathered 224.

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Donald Trump also won the battleground state of Florida, scoring a crucial victory over challenger Joe Biden. The loss of the southern state would have meant an almost certain loss for the incumbent.

However, the Democratic candidate is still in the race, with his aides hoping for wins in other key states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Trump scored victories in Iowa and Montana, with the two states giving him a total of nine electoral votes.

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He also bagged Ohio, another key battleground state which carries 18 electoral votes.

The northern US state of Minnesota has gone to Biden, according to the AP news agency.

Biden also won the US state of Hawaii, adding another four votes in the electoral college to his camp.

The Secretary of State for the key battleground state of Michigan was doubtful that final unofficial results would be available before Wednesday night.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19:Texas prisoners hit by largest outbreaks at federal jail

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More than 500 women test positive for coronavirus at facility holding inmates with medical and mental health issues.


Hundreds of female prisoners in the US state of Texas have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, in one of the largest confirmed outbreaks at a federal prison in the country hit hardest by the pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth jumped to 510 on Tuesday, just two days after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported that 200 women there had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Only the federal prison in Seagoville, also located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had more infected inmates, with 1,156 cases as of Tuesday.

“We’re like a whole bunch of hamsters in a cage chasing our own tails,” FMC-Carswell inmate Holli Chapman told The Associated Press news agency.

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Three weeks ago, the facility had reported only three confirmed cases of the virus among inmates. As of Monday, three women had died of the virus.

FMC-Carswell holds female inmates with medical and mental illnesses. It currently has 1,357 prisoners.

The BOP said in a statement it was taking precautions to stem the spread of the virus.
The Bureau of Prisons says it is taking precautions to stem the virus’ spread [File: LM Otero/AP]

“As with any type of emergency situation, we carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public,” it said.

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“All of our facilities are implementing the BOP’s guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

Last week, several women at Carswell told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram newspaper the facility did not have enough sanitising supplies or personal protective equipment (PPE).

The women also noted that cells are not immediately cleaned after someone tests positive. Inmate Sandra Shoulders said mattresses used by women who have tested positive are piled up in a TV room.

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“We feel basically abandoned,” she was quoted as saying by AP. “(Officers) are saying they’re doing all this stuff for us, that they’re in here with us. But they’re not the ones in 24-hour quarantine, left in a six-by-six cell with three other people with 10 minute showers, 10 minutes to be on the phone or email to communicate with their families.”

Coronavirus infections have been surging across Texas, which has recorded more than 350,000 cases with 4,270 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Teams of military medics were deployed on Friday to help hospitals deluged by coronavirus patients after 10,000 new daily cases were reported for a third straight day last week.

The United States has the world’s highest number of confirmed infections and deaths from COVID-19 – at 3,902,135 and 142,068, respectively.


#Newsworthy…

Ex Texas Player Caught Confessing of killing his pregnant sister.

...was having a crisis


A former University of Texas at San Antonio football player who was arrested for stabbing his pregnant sister to death was caught on a doorbell camera confessing to the crime.

25-year-old Michael Egwuagu was arrested and charged on Friday, December 27, in Pflugerville for killing his 32-year-old sister Jennifer Ebichi.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Austin Statesman, Egwuagu can be heard saying “I killed Jennifer” on footage obtained by a doorbell camera at Ebichi’s home. An autopsy showed that Ebichi was pregnant and was estimated to be in her first trimester.


The arrest affidavit also revealed that Ebichi sent a message to another brother, Martin Egwuagu, and asked him to come to the house because Michael “was at the residence and was having a crisis.”

Martin spoke to Michael in an attempt to calm him down, but before he arrived at the home, he allegedly found his sister’s body. She had been stabbed multiple times and was lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. He said he heard Ebichi’s young child crying, so he carried the child and took her out of the house.


When he got outside, Martin Egwuagu reportedly found Michael kneeling in the street with his clothes covered in blood. Martin then called police at that point.

When police arrived at the scene, they interviewed a friend of Ebichi’s, who told police that Ebichi had called her and asked her to come to the house. But when she arrived, she heard screaming from inside the house. She told authorities that she saw Michael Egwuagu leave the home holding a bloody kitchen knife. “I killed Jennifer,” he allegedly told her.


Egwuagu then was arrested and charged with murder on Friday night. He was booked into the Travis County Jail with his bond set at $500,000.

Before the murder, Michael Egwuagu was known in the community as a football standout who played safety at UTSA between 2013 and 2016.

Former Texas football player Michael Egwuagu caught on camera confessing to killing his pregnant sister


#Newsworthy…

#NobleSport.