Recovery After Texas’ Winter Storm: What You Need to Know

- Arnold & Itkin LLP

Shoveling snow from a driveway is not an activity that many people associate with living in Texas. Yet, in February of this year, that’s exactly what many Texans found themselves doing. Across the state, frigid temperatures brought chaos to the roads and wreaked havoc on the state’s energy infrastructure.

With no power, people found themselves in unexpectedly dire situations. As temperatures remained well below freezing, people tried to get warm. They turned to unorthodox sources of heat, leading to hundreds of carbon monoxide poisoning cases across the state. Others found no warmth, placing some of the most vulnerable at risk of serious injury or death caused by the inescapable frigid temperatures.

Those who weren’t struggling physically from the cold were still having troubles because of it. Grocery store shelves emptied, roads became unusable and dangerous, and homes across the state had their untreated pipes burst, causing extensive damage.

By the time the weather warmed up, at least 69 people died and over $18 billion in uninsured damage was done.

Now, Texans are trying to pick up the pieces left behind by Winter Storm Uri. With many suffering from financial losses, physical injuries, and emotional trauma, those who could have prevented this severe storm from becoming a statewide emergency should answer for failing to do so.

Who Is Responsible for the Texas Winter Storm’s Damage?

Many are placing blame on the state’s energy grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for much of the suffering that occurred between February 13 and 17. Notably, the state has fiercely kept its energy grid independent from other states out of regulatory concerns. As a result, Texas couldn’t bring in energy from other states when its grid started to fail.

While the situation that unfolded in Texas was unprecedented, the state’s residents counted on ERCOT to prepare for the worst—and it didn’t. Many of ERCOT’s directors have resigned because of their failure to prevent the blackout. Its board has also ousted Bill Magness, its chief executive. Many of ERCOT’s board members reside outside of Texas and didn’t have to face the realities of the winter storm.

To make matters worse, ERCOT has had issues with winter storms in the past. In 2011, a series of rolling blackouts were triggered as Texas faced a similar bout of unusually cold weather. Yet, a report has found that ERCOT failed to implement recommendations that likely would have prevented or mitigated 2021’s disaster.

"You could take out ‘2011’ and pop in ‘2021,’ and there is going to be a lot of similarities” between the deficiencies in the grid found in the report 10 years ago and those plaguing it now, said Dave Tuttle, an Energy Institute researcher at the University of Texas.

Government officials and agencies are also facing scrutiny for how the state prepared for the storm. One example of governmental failure occurred on Texas roads. Insufficiently treated surfaces caused major traffic collisions throughout the state. In Fort Worth, the consequences of failing to prepare the roads for a cold storm were catastrophic. One section of Interstate 35W was the location of a 133-car pileup that killed six people. Reports indicate that officials had warnings that the road was dangerously iced over hours before the massive pileup.

What Can a Texas Power Outage Lawsuit Help to Recover?

If you’re a Texan that has suffered because of the state’s failure to prepare for the winter storm, help is available. Our Texas winter storm lawyers are ready to help you demand answers from those who could’ve prevented your suffering.

We can help you obtain compensation for issues such as:

  • Hospitalization and ongoing care
  • Damaged property
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost wages
  • Decreased earning capacity
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of companionship

We’re also ready to help you find answers for commercial problems such as property damage to your business, loss of revenue because of interruptions, and issues with your insurance claim.

Importantly, we’re a Texas winter storm law firm that’s based in Houston. Our lawyers were there to fight for our neighbors in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and we’ll be there to do the same for you after this devastating winter disaster. We believe that holding officials accountable for the suffering they allowed to happen is the only way to prevent this from happening to our state again. The suffering in Texas this February was as preventable as it was devastating, and we're ready to fight for answers. No matter what.

Call us today to find out how our Texas winter storm attorneys can help you. A consultation is free when you call (888) 493-1629.

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