U.S. winter storm has killed 76 people, and public electricity bill exceeds 16,000 US dollars
China News Service, February 22nd. According to a comprehensive report, winter storms that lasted for many days caused at least 76 deaths in many parts of the United States, and about half of them occurred in the worst-hit Texas.
The disaster also caused millions of people to suffer from power outages, wholesale electricity prices soared, and even users received 16,000 US dollars (approximately RMB 100,000) of “astronomical electricity bills.” Energy experts believe that the authorities failed to upgrade the infrastructure in time to deal with the cold, which resulted in the power outage.
On February 15, local time, Texas was hit by a winter storm. The picture shows a pedestrian walking in a snowstorm.
[Severe weather has killed 76 people]
According to the Associated Press, car accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, house fires and low temperatures caused by the winter storm have been At least 76 people died in many places in the United States, and about half of them occurred in Texas.
The snowstorm and low temperature caused power outages and water outages. According to data from PowerOutage.us, a website tracking power outages, as of the 21st, nearly 230,000 users in the southern region of the United States still have power outages. In addition to Texas, there are also large numbers of people without electricity in Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon.
Texas Governor Abbott said that there are still about 30,000 Texans in a state of power outage, and he expects that all power services will be restored on the evening of the 21st or 22nd local time. At the same time, Abbott also said that due to the skyrocketing wholesale electricity prices, he was worried about the threat of huge electricity bills. Abbott has held an emergency meeting to investigate the sky-high electricity bill.
According to reports, as an “energy state” in the United States, Texas’s power supply market operates in a unique manner. Users can choose a suitable power plan among more than 220 power suppliers, and some plans are based on overall power supply and demand. Adjust fees.
After the heavy snow caused a blackout, the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) raised the upper limit of electricity bills to 9 US dollars per kilowatt-hour, which caused many users to increase their electricity bills to more than 100 US dollars in a single day. Willoughby, a 63-year-old retired veteran, received an electricity bill of up to US$16,752 (approximately RMB 108,000), 70 times more than usual.
A number of congressmen were concerned about the incident and criticized PUCT for lack of explanation and supervision of the details of the power plan, which caused users to suffer losses.
On February 19, local time, due to the power outage and water outage caused by the winter storm, many supermarkets in Houston, Texas, USA experienced shortages of drinking water and meat products. The picture shows a shortage of eggs in a HEB supermarket in Houston. Photo by China News Service reporter Zeng Jingning
[Expert: The authorities are not ready]
The Texas Electricity Commission admitted to underestimating the magnitude of the surge in electricity consumption. Energy experts believe that the authorities did not prepare for the cold, including upgrading power generation and transmission facilities, which resulted in the blackout.
Texas once caused a blackout in 2011 due to a similar cold current. Now history repeats itself, triggering a social backlash. Experts believe that although knowing that the severe cold may cause a crisis in the power system, the Texas government allows private power companies to decide whether to upgrade their equipment, but most companies have not done so because of cost considerations.
The Democrats pointed out that the Republican state government in Texas must be responsible for this crisis.
On the 20th local time, the White House said in a statement: “On the 19th, President Biden announced a major disaster statement in Texas and ordered the federal government to provide more assistance to help people affected by severe winter storms. The area is back to normal.”
According to reports, the major disaster statement will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide more resources and assistance, including temporary housing and repair subsidies, and low cost for uninsured property damage Loans and other projects to help communities recover.
p > On February 18, local time, people took a rest in the shelter after a power outage in Plano, Texas, USA due to winter weather.
[After the cold snap, the sudden rise in temperature may bring new problems? 】
After the heavy snow brought severe disasters, the weather forecast showed that the cold air mass was finally going to recede. The current temperature has gradually picked up, but the low temperature in parts of the Southwest Plain still continues, so there are still many places in the local power outages, and even large-scale pipeline bursts.
However, the US “World Journal” stated that the real problem is yet to come: if the temperature rises sharply, problems with the old infrastructure may begin to appear. The thawed road is not safe, and more potholes may be formed on the ground; in addition, the pipeline may burst because it cannot withstand the increased moisture after thawing.
Experts also reminded that people should pay more attention to the melting snow and ice on trees and roofs, especially high buildings in cities and metropolitan areas. If they fall down, there is a certain degree of danger; in addition, some The temperature in the area may drop sharply at night, and there will be problems caused by freezing again.
Sarah Barnes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said: “The most common thing to freeze again is a pile of mud on the ground, which is likely to cause danger to people passing by.”