Why the Lights went out in Texas


Joyce Feuerborn

Former employee maintenance mechanic, Jeff Cessna, who retired from Southern Calif. Edison after 32 years, in his Santa Ana neighborhood. Photo taken March 5, 2021 at 8:34 a.m.

So why did Texas have such a huge, devastating power outage? 

Jeff Cessna, who I interviewed for this article, is a retired maintenance mechanic who worked for Southern California Edison for more than 30 years. He believes Texans’ ego caused the power outage. 

But first, a little background on why Texas made the decisions that would come to hurt so many.

California regulates their power that belongs to the Western power grid that connects several other states except Texas. So if something happens; per se if California has a power outage, the Golden State is still supported by several other states.

Texas on the other hand, has its own power grid. Texas’ way of using energy is because of their political ideology. Texan politicians don’t believe in climate change which is why their main source of getting energy is from natural gas which is detrimental to the environment. 

Cessna goes further to explain, “Texas chose to be independent. They chose to be independent because they are very independent-minded (from experience).”

Cessna believes there are a couple of reasons: one, they are very energy independent and produce a lot of natural gas, oil, and wind power. And the other reason? Money.

“By not keeping up with technology and weatherizing their system for climate change, they chose to go independent and to go cheap because quality costs money,” added Cessna.

But how exactly did the power shut down in the first place?

In my conversation with Cessna, I learned that when the weather got really cold and stayed cold and things started freezing up, valves that should’ve opened stayed closed, valves that should’ve closed stayed opened, and pumps froze.

“And as people came home, they started off with power. Because they were cold, they cranked their heat on. Demand started to go up and plants started coming offline because the cold weather continued,” Cessna explained.

When demand is high and supply is low the price goes through the roof. Texas doesn’t have it properly regulated or taxed.”

— Jeff Cessna, former employee of So Cal Edison

Most Texan politicians are so independent-minded that Rick Perry former U.S. Secretary of Energy and former governor of Texas said on Feb. 10, that, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.”

Due to the power outage, electric bills all over Texas fluctuated dramatically. Cessna explains why Texas with a deregulated market caused locals to literally pay $1,000s for a power that was usually under $50 a month.

“When demand is high and supply is low the price goes through the roof. Texas doesn’t have it properly regulated or taxed. And if the same thing happens here (in California) we’d be regulated in California under regulation law. The only difference is the California customer doesn’t get hit with it, the companies do.”

Now that Texas has experienced this power outage due to poor maintenance of their power gird, will Texas power companies now take a step forward and change the way they receive their energy?

Although it seems unlikely, Cessna goes even further.

He believes, “The goal is politics and money, it’s going to cost money so the rates are going to go up. In order to better their system someone has to pay.” 

The crisis in Texas is due to poor preparation which caused a chain of events to flourish, although things in Texas are starting to get back to normal, there are still issues of concern with organization and basic necessities.

As the power grid normalizes, for Texans, things look brighter as long as the power stays on.