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An 11 year old boy is suspected to have froze to death after the family had been without heat for 2 nights.


We have lots of warm blankets and sleeping bags but it often gets cold here. Hubby and I spent a week car camping in Alaska in below freezing temperatures BUT we were prepared for the cold.

With hurricanes you have warnings, these people had no warning and no idea it would get that cold for that long. They were not accustomed to cold snaps, if your body is not acclimated to colder temperatures a drop like this one is very hard on you.
 

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It was 4.6 degrees here west of Austin.

I think the child who died experienced hypothermia after playing in the snow. Perhaps he had an undiagnosed condition that made him vulnerable.
 

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Alice, 4.6 F? That is COLD! We have hit that low only a couple times this winter. It was much warmer than that when we were in Alaska.
 

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It got below 0 a few times at night in Dallas. Sometimes like 1. There was snow in Galveston. Del Rio, on the Mexican Border had over 10 inches of snow.
 

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Those temps are cold for Ohio, they would be devastating to Texas.

It will be a few months before anyone knows how much damage was done to the landscape and perennial crops in Texas. I can't imagine many semi-tropical plants living through that cold of a winter.
 

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Posted 2/20/21 11:40 PM CST

After computerized meters became the norm. our electric co-op got federal approval to poll the meters from their office and charge different rates for peak and non peak usage during the day instead of the older era charge per kilowatt at the end of the month model.

Normally with the smart meters they now use, based on the flash bursts of two wall wart charged on standby black out lights I have, normally they poll my meter with a 660 millisecond or so multiplexed communication burst over the power line to my house every four house or so and in high heat waves in summer and extended winter cold spells, the pollings increase to every 45 minutes..

In the 9 years since they computerized their meter reading, I have gotten 5 bills, 2 in summer and 3 in winter three to four times higher than normal temperature high variation bills and when I called to contest it , they verified that a combination of higher use and blackouts in my area corrupted their computers and adjusted my bill to the readout of my meter from the reading a field supervisor read as it is an independent usage reader that their office computer can only passive monitor and if my power had to be disconnected, a field man had to come out and physically disconnect it like in the old days.

Three or four months ago they had linemen in pick ups and trouble fix dually rear tire bucket trucks driving the old meter reader routes because their central office meter polling system had crashed.
 

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Texas has a very isolated and private, less regulated power system. It is run by a state board.

when the state runs low on power, they have few options to bring more power into the state.

since most of the center of the USA was in a cold snap, everyone was using a lot of electricity. And using a lot of natural gas for heating.

many of the ‘extra’ standby electric generators run on natural gas, or propane. But, now, with the huge cold snap, supplies of natural gas/ propane were also running out.

so Texas had to pull in extra electricity from wherever they could.

this is called ‘standby power.’

it is really, really expensive to buy power like this. And Texas needed so very much of it, they were pulling all the way up to North Dakota to get electricity in. As I said, they don’t have many connections to other states, so they didn’t have many choices, they were locked into only the central part of the USA, which was the coldest part of the USA.

so......

the cost of this standby power skyrocketed. Demand drives price, and the whole central of the USA was demanding it. Texas was in worst shape, and had to buy the most of it. What typically costs $10 to buy was pegged at over $600.

so yes, electricity was costing 60 times normal price, and it was just based on demand, not on any type of price gouging. It was a bidding war.

the real problem is that Texas has not spent enough on their electrical grid to produce enough electricity when it gets real cold. Windmills need special oil and anti icing designs which cost more. Propane and natural gas needs special handling, the pipelines it flows in need to be special to not have any hint of moisture in them during cold spells. And so on. Texas is too cheap to prepare for cold weather. They don’t get real cold very often, but when they do, this is the result.

it’s a tough situation. They need to spend a lot of money to be prepared for something that doesn’t happen very often. I’d hate to pay the extra money to improve their windmills, pipelines,power stations too. It would seem like wasted money for 20 years.

until, a year like this.

certainly an unfortunate and bitter deal.


I fear the future plans for the USA power grid in general will sink tot he level of Texas, and we all will be in an unprepared, and fragile, situation. Green power can work in cold weather, and green power can be shuttled across the country to fill in where needed. But we would need to spend a whole lot more than the green-pushers are saying to actually make that all work. We are getting a theoretical model, not a real working program for the future.

I think we all will be Texas soon.

Paul
 

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48 inDallas this morning at 7:30
 
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Not trying to pick on just you, more of a response to the many similar comments being made.

If your vehicle is not road worthy for cold weather problems then leave it parked. You might not like the result but it is just that simple.
I mean, that seems common sense. Except very few vehicles are road worthy. Not even the busses are road worthy in this sort of situation, and Texas doesn't have the very best bus infrastructure to begin with.

Peoples' employers are still going to be stomping their foot and declaring you fired if you don't show up to work. They don't give two farts that the very act of commuting is incredibly dangerous and your only option is to use an ill-equipped car.

I've seen Dallas on the morning of an arctic blast that was far less extreme than this one. It's car ballet. Every intersection is filled with drifting cars as people try to scoot their car along the road in their own lane, while you have a thousand people driving jacked up Bro Trucks thinking that physics doesn't apply to them tearing over ice at 60+ MPH.



House building and plumbing issues is the same issue the utility companies are dealing with. Pay up front or pay later.
Maybe Texas should adjust their building codes so that housing development companies are forced to comply. Until that happens, it's just going to be more houses that aren't easily winterized.


i thought that was a 60 year old. i could be wrong and there was also a kid. i didn't hear that. the one i heard about his wife was in the recliner and she was also in some distress but is recovering. they said they were covered in blankets but maybe they were thin blankets . that wouldn't be adequate for times like that. i could survive without heat . i have but under heavy home made quilts. ~Georgia
Most people I know in Texas just own throws and cheap comforter sets. I have so many blankets that I gave 10 to my dogs (who promptly relocated them ALL to the center of the yard in the middle of the snowstorm and laid out there instead of their beds -- because husky). But yeah, I only know one person in my social circle who had something other than decorative blankets.
 

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............Some of these worthless electric providers have already gone bankrupt ! Their customers have been transferred over to Oncor , a major supplier of power to the , smaller , now non functioning companies ! The politics of these asinine power bills will catch UP with them and they WILL NOT prevail once everything gets sorted OUT !
..............Two members of the Dysfunctional Board of ERCOT , don't even LIVE in TX and most likely the WHOLE Board will get fired and Hopefully get hit with a class action lawsuit ! OUR HALF ass governor , a 'Good' republican is as much responsible for the Impotent Board of ERCOT as the board itself !
.............Would anyone be surprised if the Republican domination of Tx politics receives a real voter circumcision of it's power and the result being a much stronger Democratic presence in the Texas legislature , I think not ! The Republican party in TX has NO ONE to blame but themselves ! , fordy
 

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Electricity bills for Texans shot up as high as $17,000 per month following a nasty winter storm that caused power outages and wrecked havoc.

This is no different than violating hoarding laws during crisis..

Which is against the law....(n)
 

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when i went to panama city beach one winter. i threw in my 40 below sleeping bag at the very last moment. my friend at the time thought i was nuts. when i got there all was on the bed in the condo was thin cotton sheets and a comforter that you couldn't really call a comforter. just for looks.

i went to wmart to try to buy some flannelette sheets but couldn't find any. i bought a pair that was a little better than the thin cotton. it use to get cold at nights when i was there and i was sure glad to snuggle under my sleeping bag. ~Georgia
 

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No one in Texas has gotten a bill yet that includes last weeks energy usage.
The only thing I can imagine are those people who check their usage online.

But I did chuckle a little bit when the person they used as an example in the article did state their normal bill for a 2 or 3 bedroom home (I forget which) is $600.

That guy is doing way more than running a heater. I got an internet nickel that says I bet he mines crypto.
 

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those extra high bills are with a variable rate plan tied to the wholesale price. The house that averages $100 and went to $600 would be the kind of thing that would happen to. My bill was $59 and change last month. I sent in a $60 dollar payment and checked today and the computer said nothing more than I had a .36 credit. My price is a fixed rate. I don't know what it will be come due date though. Shouldn't be much more than last month as I don't believe I've used as much so far this month as last month, Less laundry. My heat and cooking and water heater is propane Just use elec for the fans and elec pilot. Dryer hasn't run 6 times this month. Dishwasher maybe 3 times. Seldom use heat dry in that.
 
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Alice, 4.6 F? That is COLD! We have hit that low only a couple times this winter. It was much warmer than that when we were in Alaska.
We were -7 here in East Texas on Tuesday morning. Our city seems to be the coldest spot in the area every winter. It showed -9 on the news but I didn't show that on my stuff. I live on a hill though and I am sure the valleys were colder.
 

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It wasn't a glitch from the article I read today and it explains why the high prices hit some but not everyone. The same thing could happen here and probably most other places. Like us, Texans have the option of who to buy power from. They can buy it from the company producing it or from other suppliers who buy the electricity as a commodity. Here we can buy it from Ameren or other suppliers. Sometimes the alternate suppliers sell you electricity cheaper because commodity prices may be cheaper than Ameren. They are simply buying excess available electricity from large producers on the grid. Just like gold, silver, oil, corn, etc. electricity is a commodity. However, Ameren and other electricity producers have their prices set at a certain rate and increases must be approved by state governments but alternate suppliers do not. When the cold hit and demand surged, the commodity price on the open market surged and alternate suppliers had to bid those high prices to buy electricity to provide to customers while the producer had to stick to their regulated prices. They simply passed their costs on to the customers. I expect some consumer relief from Texas government and probably new rules also.
 
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