It’s the Energy Companies’ Fault, Not a Partisan Issue

You know what is interesting to me? I didn’t experience too much inconvenience from the power outages here in Texas. I was mostly lucky because I sleep during the day, and the only outages I experienced were during the day. I slept through the inconvenience. It was enough to get me a little riled up though. This felt like one of those things where government and for profit corporations could have asked the simple question of how do we supply three times more power than is usually necessary just in case there’s a nasty heat wave or winter hurricane? It’s not as though our human experience has never shown us this kind of thing is possible. And so I bitched. We pay for the electricity. We should have electricity, especially in emergency situations.

I was getting a little push back at this notion, and I didn’t understand why. The problem is that as a measure of conserving energy, I wasn’t getting onto YouTube and listening to the news of the world. What I didn’t realize is that even the failure of the electric company is a partisan issue for some reason. I’m going to ask a serious question of everybody out there, and I want you to really think about it before you answer. Can we just grow up already and act like adults?

Anytime I have an opinion on a partisan issue I get push back, even if I came to this conclusion without any prompting from the left or the right. Let me explain something about the way I think. I try to think as big as my puny little brain will let me. I’m not saying that I make a big issue about every little thing. I’m just saying that I try to figure out a big picture fix to problems when I can see one. I remember reading a theory on deadlines that said, “Figure out how long the project should take and then triple that time.” It seems reasonable for an electric company to ask what the most energy ever used in a single day has been and then build the infrastructure of their service to handle three times that amount at any time. Then update that once a year if there has been a new most usage day. That was my entire thought. It wasn’t how do I make those Democrats or Republicans look bad. It wasn’t how do I make this fit my views on climate change. It was simply how do you avoid ever having massive blackouts? That’s all.

“Electric Grid” by Duncan Rawlinson – is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Then I find out that the left and right media can’t agree on what caused this. I hear the right say that the wind turbines froze. Then I hear the left say that there are wind turbines in Antarctica that work just fine because they’re properly winterized. I hear the left say that this is the failure of natural gas in the winter weather. Then I hear the right say that the wind turbines froze and screwed everything up. I hear the right say that wind turbines and solar panels are leading us into a dystopian future where our electricity doesn’t work. Then I hear the left point out that the electricity isn’t working now. And I don’t care either way. Then I hear the left point out that Texas is the only deregulated power grid in the US. And they may have a point, because like I said, we pay for the electricity. This means that you should be taking the money we pay you and making sure we have electricity.

And that’s the thing. I don’t care about this partisan nonsense. We’re going to argue about who’s to blame. Then we’re going to argue about who to point the finger at. Then we’re going to argue about who not to point the finger at. Do you know what we’re not going to do? We’re not going to fix the problem.

So let me ask this question again, and I seriously want you to think before you answer. Can we just grow up already and act like adults? And I mean this. This isn’t condescension. Well, maybe a little. But I’m dead serious about the question. If you forgot to buy groceries and your kids went to school and said they haven’t eaten for four days, your kids would be taken away. If you’re an electric provider and you fail to provide electricity, maybe we should be able to move to another electric provider. If your cell phone was out for four days and you were told it’s your fault for not having a burner phone ready just in case they had problems with their grid, you would change providers before they even had a chance to tell you that, especially if they charged you more because you didn’t have service for four days.

This isn’t a partisan issue. This is an issue where once again the government that we pay for with our taxes, and the corporations that we pay for services, failed us. They will fail us again if we turn this into yet another fight in the backseat of the car about who poked whose arm first and don’t address the true problem.

Chris McGinty is a blogger who likes electricity because it’s kind of necessary for blogging. So tell you what, you stupid unprepared utilities companies, I’ll just keep writing this blog that no one reads if you keep my electricity on. If you don’t, I may have to bring my blog, with my really loud voice, to your headquarters. And my sign will probably be an ironic drawing of the Acapulco shoreline.

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