A thought for our fellow audiophiles in Texas and other hard hit states

Hang in there, guys. I hope you are all ok.

Philippe, in Belgium


Thanks. I live in suburban of Houston. As of Feb 19, Power has fully restored. Houston City has problem to restore its water system, but Suburbs around it do not have water problems (since unlike power which is on a huge grid, different water authorities manage different areas) temperature has back to above 32F, next week will up to 70F.


Similar situation here in Austin, thanks for thinking of us!


I am glad you are both ok.

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I read that Texas has its own grid, so when that failed it could not draw power from elsewhere. The tragedy seems to be that it was completely avoidable.

We’ve had a week around -3 and then up to +15 yesterday. Friends went to stay in Amsterdam for 3 months, lots of people were iceskating and with the sudden thaw people were falling through the ice.

Here Temperature is back to 60F yesterday. Pretty much in the normal range.
Well, if and only if texas power grid can draw power from its neighbors and neighbors have power to spare. However, nearby neighbors their power grids also under stress (almost entire US is under this severe cold), and south neighbor (Mexico) might not have power to spare either. The problem is Texas is not built for this kind of weather conditions. All the infrastructures are designed for severe summer conditions not for severe cold - wind power’s wind turbines freeze, nature gas line to gas power generators freeze, plus, generators’ scheduled maintenance during the winter season (to prepare for summer) etc triggers the domino effect. For me, the infrastructure problem is same situation as a heat wave hit when I lived in south France, my friends back in Texas said, “why don’t you turn on the air condition” Severe weather looks like happened more frequent. We all should be prepared.

(FYI, some info about Texas. 1. Size is a little bit larger than France, 2. Second largest economy in US, after California, but larger than France. 3. The only state that it’s state flag can raise to same level as US flag. Why? Because Texas was a country “Republic of Texas” Sam Houston was one of its president.)


Very interesting flag fact.

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Without getting too political, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that the design of the Texas electrical delivery system has been designed with more concern for conservative Texan’s disdain of federal regulation than concern for the state’s ability to have flexibility in the event of unusual events such as those of the last week. One “supply/demand market rate” based electrical provider in Texas worked exactly as free market economics dictated but the result was billing at 50-60x the usual market rate and some customers now have electrical bills of over $6000 for the period when most of the electrical grid was down. The company did warn their customers what was going to happen and advised them to change providers but with limited choices and short notice, many had no real world options.


You nailed it. It is a matter of infrastructure investment. A conscious decision to not tie into the grid, and my opinion is no catastrophe will move the Texas utilities, PUC or ERCOT to move to an interconnected grid. Should Texas have been interconnected there would most likely be power available on the national grid to prevent the degree of rolling black-outs encountered. The power on an interconnected grid does not necessarily come from the adjacent utility or merchant power provider. As an example power generated in the midwest is provided to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states through the interconnected grid. In the winter months excess capacity in the midwest may be channeled to the east coast at competitive rates. This could be done with Texas as well if an interconnect was in place. That said the cost of providing a 345kV or 765kV interconnect to the Southwest would be pretty expensive. Another option would be a tie in from Arizona, tapping in to Palo Verde’s excess capacity. Texas’ black-out is of their on making, and will recur. I do empathize with the people of Texas. The PUC, ERCOT and political power brokers not so much. I wonder how much small LP or natural gas generators sized for home use are going for now in Texas?

Time for Distributed Generation?