Almost a year after a historic winter storm left Texas frozen and without power, the Lone Star state is still updating the storm’s death toll numbers.
Over the weekend, the Texas Department of State Health Services adjusted the February storm’s death toll to 246 people, up from the previous total of 210 released in July. The majority died from hypothermia. The victims ranged in age from less than a year old to 102.
Over the weekend, with the state facing freezing temps yet again, Gov. Greg Abbott promoted an energy app on his Twitter account that allows users to track the performance of the Texas power grid. It shows the current demand on the power grid versus the capacity.
Abbott’s tweet was received with scathing criticism from some Texans who claim the Texas governor has not done enough to prevent another power outage in the future.
“Sooooo ten months later you got us an app,” tweeted @pjcanzy77.
“It’s amazing to me that you are telling folks in ‘Big Energy Texas’ they should look at an app to see power capacity changes,” said @Squirrelgirl510. “Texans shouldn’t even have to give this a second thought…but here we are.”
“This is embarrassing that a state built on energy has to monitor if we will have lights in the morning.” @Papa_bear
“I sincerely hope there is more to the ‘plan’ that this. It was 37 degrees INSIDE my home in Feb.” said @Jones-Hospod
Abbott’s office did not return requests for comment Monday.
More than 4.5 million Texans were without power last February, as temperatures dipped below zero in some places amid the coldest February in Texas in 43 years. Some residents lost electricity for days. Others had intermittent service.
The power crisis was caused in part by a lack of natural gas, which powers electric companies. Many of those same power plants also failed to winterize their operations and facilities to withstand extreme cold.
In the storm’s aftermath, Texas lawmakers passed two bills to protect the Texas power grid. The new regulations ask power plants to weatherize their facilities to withstand extreme cold or heat.
But many of those requirements don’t start until 2022 at the earliest.
Natural gas companies won’t be forced to winterize unless it is found to be critical by regulators. Natural gas powers electrical plants in Texas. State leaders have also been criticized for not making more natural gas available, which was another cause of the power blackout nearly a year ago.