Not Everything Is Politics: Texas Outages

We recently witnessed a horrible chain of events surrounding the Texas Power outages, but one of the worst factors that arose during the height of the situation was politics.


It’s important to focus on the facts. Politicizing the problem doesn’t help, and actually hinders solving the real issue—the engineering problem.


Let’s say you have a hundred people, and they’re all drinking out of one glass that is continuously being filled at the same rate it’s being emptied, while constantly attempting to avoid overflow.


Texas’ electrical system is like drinking out of one glass, and there’s no buffer in the system.


You have to consume and add “water” at nearly the same rate because you can store very little.


The U.S. has three electrical grids—there’s Eastern, Western, and then Texas. Overall, their cup is smaller. Whereas here in Chicago, if we have a local problem, we’re able to pull electricity from Ohio, Pennsylvania, or another region.


In Texas when the weather caused them to not put as much “water” into the glass, they were also dealing with Texans demanding extra electricity to pump heat into their homes.


And when supply goes down and demand goes up at the same time… it’s bad.


There are times when the supply AND the demand both go down, like gasoline supplies in a blizzard. There may be less gasoline available but there are fewer drivers on the road.


This is why we need to be clear on where the issues lie. Injecting politics into a crisis isn’t productive, but understanding the structure of a system will help us be better prepared with a solution when issues arise.


Originally posted by Larry Jordan on LinkedIn – 3/4/2021