The recent extreme weather event that brought Texas’ electric power grid to within minutes or seconds of collapse, is now, as life crawls back toward normal, predictably attended by efforts to avoid blame.
The head of the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) resigned in disgrace, as powerful state politicians heaped condemnation on her head. One might suppose that forcing her resignation accomplished something worthwhile.
I think not.
Her salary of $201,000/year is arguably a waste of taxpayers’ money in view of the calamity so recently visited upon them.
But she can’t be held solely responsible.
The politicians who dominate the state government are dead set against government regulation of the claimed-to-be-infallible free market.
In particular, they disapprove federal regulation, and have taken steps to insulate Texas’ power grid therefrom.
It’s worth noting the power industry in Texas has contributed generously to the governor’s campaign war chest, so generously, in fact, that it’s reported he has received more money than any governor in the the history of the country. (This information, being much in the news of late, is easy to find.)
Spending money to winterize the power grid results in less profit for the power industry.
Naturally, if they can lawfully avoid spending money to winterize, they’ll happily do it—remember the profit motive.
The state government, being opposed to regulation as above noted, and wanting to keep major financial backers happy as possible, didn’t mandate, but only recommended winterization of the power grid.
Power companies can lawfully disregard mere recommendations.
Thus did politicians play a part in setting the stage for the recent calamity which visited acute suffering on millions and caused at least twenty deaths.
In a effort to sweep their role under the carpet, (there isn’t a carpet big enough!), it seems politicians have decided to blame the state PUC commissioner, as though she alone was the author of this calamity.
Well, the only rule in politics is that there are no rules. Stay in power any way you can.
Politicians know they won’t fool everyone.
I believe their goal, as usual, is to fool enough people well enough and long enough to win another election.
What are we going to do about it?