Our Infrastructure is so bad, we have to get electricity from Mexico.

This is decidedly ironic:


Rolling outages affect most chilly Texans all day

By ANGELA K. BROWN Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A high power demand in the wake of a massive ice storm caused rolling outages for more than eight hours Wednesday across most of Texas, resulting in signal-less intersections, coffee houses with no morning java and some people stuck in elevators.



The temporary outages started about 5:30 a.m. and ended in the afternoon, but "there is a strong possibility that they will be required again this evening or tomorrow, depending on how quickly the disabled generation units can be returned to service," the chief operator of Texas' power grid said in a release.



Because of the problems, Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission agreed to transmit 280 megawatts of electricity to Texas between Wednesday and Thursday night.

This is a direct result of deregulation, as well as chronic under-investment in our national infrastructure. We are lucky that Mexico is better-managed than Texas.


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Actually, Mexico cancelled the offer due to their own power problems, and the problem in Texas is the cold, not really the grid. Even at this increased demand, Texas hasn't maxed out the grid but the grid isn't at capacity due to burst pipes at power plants (ice) and lower gas pressure at backup plants (cold gas has less volume ). That is, the cold is what Texas was not prepared for because we rarely get this kind of cold. I'd bet we'll be prepared next time.
The fleeting offer from Mexico does make a nice headline, though, right?

It was not actually a 'fleeting offer' from Mexico, more a question of Mexico taking care of the needs of it's own citizens after exporting 280MW to Texas. How dare them!

We are still experiencing rolling blackouts and expect to throughout the evening. Had business gone on as usual, i.e. schools, government offices open as normal (all of which have been closed for 3 days at El Paso Electric Co's request) we would have experienced widespread loss of power.

Mexico's electric company exported 280 megawatts to Texas through interconnections at Laredo and Eagle Pass beginning at noon Wednesday. Mexico exported energy to help relieve rolling blackouts in parts of Texas.
But the commission temporarily suspended the supply Thursday morning because the cold caused its power grid to lose 1,000 megawatts in northern Mexico.
The commission "decided to temporarily suspend the energy export to the state of Texas to prioritize the needs in the north part of our country," a statement said.

Of course the headline is dramatic, and of course no single incident can prove the point, that our infrastructure is generally is disrepair. If you want to know more about the sorry state of our infrastructure, you can Google "infrastructure report card". It is alarming that we have allowed our country to become so vulnerable, but it is our own fault. We voted for politicians who favor deregulation. Robustness of infrastructure costs money, and companies won't spend that money unless the government makes them do it.

I've written about this before: http://www.google.com/cse?cx=017254414699180528062%3Auyrcvn__yd0&q=infr…

Before deregulation, utilities had to maintain 15% excess capacity in the electrical grid. Now, they do not have to do that. The typically maintain about 5% extra capacity. This makes the companies more profitable, but it increases the risk of blackouts.