It is unacceptable that Texas’ power grid could not handle last week’s winter storm. Now, as a result of last week’s power outages and freezing temperatures, Texans are experiencing a plumbing supply crisis!
Only God knows how many homes, businesses, and churches in Texas currently have damaged pipes and no running water. Standard plumbing supplies for piping, especially fittings, are sold out across the state and right now suppliers do not know where they are going to get more.
One of my favorite clients, Scott Weisinger, President and CEO of Weisinger Inc. headquartered in Willis, Texas, asked me to shed light on this important issue. Scott’s business drills, constructs, and services municipal, commercial, and residential wells, and also sells and services pumps of all types.
Weisinger has received nearly 1000 service calls to fix wells that broke during last week’s freeze. Thankfully, as of now they are doing okay on well supplies. However, Scott is alarmed at the number of people his business has served over the last week that cannot find a plumber with supplies to fix the pipes in their homes. He believes it could take six to eight weeks before enough plumbing fittings make it back on the shelves to fix Texans’ pipes.
In the long term, Texas should aim to manufacture more PVC, CPVC, and PEX pipe fittings. Right now, we need to sound the alarm and ask manufacturers who have items like 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch 90s tees, caps, and couplings stocked in warehouses outside Texas to send them to our suppliers and plumbers for purchase.
I would bet our free enterprise system will fix this plumbing supply problem more quickly than any government authority ever could! The real problem is our electricity grid that created this plumbing supply crisis! Far more pipes burst as a result of homes going without power for more than two days! How in the hell does Texas, the number one energy-producing state (by far), have a power crisis?
When the winter storm hit Texas last week, many windmills froze, 185 generators and a nuclear plant went offline, and natural gas compressors lost power.
Many of the generators were likely frozen because they were not properly winterized. This does not occur as often in the north because generators are built inside, but down here we build most of them outside because they generate too much heat indoors in the summer when we utilize them most.
For one, it is clear that ERCOT, MISO, and SPP failed to do their jobs in making sure that the power companies prepared their generators for this freeze. The electricity regulators say that the legislature has not given them enough authority to force the power companies to abide by their regulations. Responsibility ultimately falls on the power companies as well, whose “rolling blackouts” turned to complete blackouts after they failed to winterize their generators. What a mess!
It is probably a good thing that the four ERCOT board members who live outside of Texas resigned today. I am also pleased to see that Texas lawmakers and our Attorney General are investigating what happened and who should be held responsible.
To stop this from happening again, the state legislature needs to develop a defined and enforceable plan for winterizing our large power generators in Texas. Additionally, we should continue to harness our God-given natural resources and build more power plants that run on reliable, cheap, and clean natural gas.
The demand for electricity in our state is only going to grow, and peak demand occurs during the summer. There is no doubt power companies will be looking to raise electricity prices on consumers following any increases in regulations, fees, and demand. We need more supply and competition.
Why should Texas, with all of our resources, allow ourselves to be inhibited by the federal government and its EPA permits. If other states are allowed to legalize and regulate their own federally prohibited drugs, why can’t Texas legalize and regulate our own federally prohibited emissions?
Please contact your state lawmakers and demand that they develop and implement an effective plan for winterizing our generators and building a more resilient power grid. Also, please help spread the word about our immediate plumbing supply crisis.
God bless you, and may He bless the 32 Texans who passed away as a result of the storm and power outages.