- In 2020, Sen. Ted Cruz mocked California’s “failed energy policies” on Twitter.
- His post has resurfaced as nearly 4 million Texans are without electricity amid a rare winter storm.
- Texas’ state-run power grid failed due to the weather-related strains on its resources.
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An August 2020 tweet in which Sen. Ted Cruz mocked California’s “failed energy policies” has reemerged and is circulating on social media as millions of Texans find themselves without electricity due to a rare but severe winter storm swamping much of the United States.
As of Monday, 154 million Americans are under some form of winter weather advisory, CNN reported, and approximately 3.9 million Texas are without power as the state’s infrastructure struggles to handle the inclement weather.
On August 19, 2020, Cruz blasted California for being “unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity” in response to a message from the governor’s office urging Californians to turn off unneeded life and limit their use of appliances.
—Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 19, 2020
Twitter users are now making fun of Cruz’s tweet for aging poorly given the current circumstances in Texas, accusing him of hypocrisy, and, in some cases, responding angrily to the six-month-old tweet.
“Hey Sen. Cruz, Texas could use some civilization about now. People are freezing to death,” Houston Chronicle opinion editor Lisa Falkengerg tweeted.
Over the summer, California experienced wildfires and extreme heat waves that strained the state’s power infrastructure and caused outages. State and local officials responded by urging citizens to limit their electricity use.
Now, Texas’ power grid has failed, with the state’s infrastructure largely unequipped to handle high levels of ice, snow, and freezing cold temperatures.
Texas developed its own state-run and -regulated power grid, ERCOT, in the 1970s largely to evade federal regulation and federal energy standards. The rest of the contiguous US states are either on the interstate Eastern Interconnection or Western Interconnection grids, the Texas Tribune reported in 2011.
The majority of Texas is now on the ERCOT grid, except for El Paso and parts of the Texas Panhandle and eastern Texas.
ERCOT mainly runs on wind power and natural gas, according to the Houston Chronicle. Those solutions are well-suited to heat waves when demand for water and air conditioning increases, but the winter storm Uri has hobbled wind turbines and strained natural gas resources.
The power outages and rolling blackouts have also affected designated warming centers and shelters. Two men died early Tuesday in Texas; their deaths are believed to have been caused due to exposure to low temperatures.
“The ERCOT grid has collapsed in exactly the same manner as the old Soviet Union,” Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston told the Chronicle. “It limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances.”