by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Following days without power that affected millions of Texans during frigid conditions, unaffected households were charged around 300 times more than market rates in monthly electricity bills now showing up.
Megawatt hour prices rose from $50 to over $9,000. What few households in the state can afford, no one should pay.
Normal billing to one household of under $400 monthly exceeded $8,000 in the latest statement received.
Another household normally billed around $600 monthly was charged about $17,000.
OilPrice.com reported that extreme winter weather in Texas “sent…spot electricity prices soaring, as the wind turbines froze in the ice storms and reduced the wind power generating capacity in the Lone Star State by half.”
Overtaking coal-fired generation last year for the first time, wind power now accounts for 25% of electricity generation in the state.
Natural gas remains the main source of electricity for Texas, supplying over 45% of power generation.
Unacceptably high power charges that can’t be paid won’t be. One affected household head denounced what she called “price gouging.”
In response to disaster in Texas, Biden declared a state of emergency.
Federal funds are supposed to be available to repair public infrastructure, for businesses to cover uninsured damage, and state residents forced to seek temporary shelter in hotels or elsewhere.
Unemployment benefits are available for individuals out of work because of what happened.
What’s supplied will likely fall way short of what’s needed based on FEMA’s abysmal track record. See below.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “(m)any Texans (feel) abandoned by the government and confused that relief hadn’t arrived days into the continuing crisis.”
What’s happening in Texas could and likely will repeat elsewhere in the US for failure to address crumbling infrastructure and lack of disaster preparedness.
Will hurricane Katrina’s August 2005 aftermath affect millions of Texans in similar fashion?
What happened in New Orleans is remembered less for the storm, catastrophic floods and destruction, more as a metaphor for disaster capitalism — exploiting vulnerable ordinary people to benefit privileged ones.
Levies protecting neighborhoods left weak were no match for surging flood waters.
Ethnic cleansing replaced poor neighborhoods with upscale condos and other high-profit projects on choice city land.
Will something similar occur in storm damaged Texas areas?
Will profiteers in cahoots with government benefit from rebuilding at the expense of ordinary households?
Will Texans left on their own repeat the reaction of a New Orleans resident who spoke for many others post-Katrina saying:
“They(‘re) just messing all over us. Putting me out of our own house.”
“We’re (trying to go) back and when we get there they got the police there putting us out.”
“They ain’t letting nobody in…but where (am I) going to go – me and my kids?”
New Orleans was more greatly transformed into two cities than earlier — one “for the white and rich, (the other) for the poor and Blacks.”
Will something similar happen in affected Texas cities?
Will profits be prioritized at the expense of poor and vulnerable Texans?
Will repairing and rebuilding storm damaged areas accelerate class warfare?
Will similar scenarios play out across the US when storms or other natural disasters occur?
Despite Biden’s state of emergency declaration for Texas, will something similar to Katrina’s aftermath be forthcoming.
Affected residents of poor New Orleans neighborhoods got no financial help because promised aid didn’t arrive.
Billions of dollars promised went for upscale development, what benefitted business and high net-worth individuals exclusively.
Rental homes weren’t repaired. Rents for rebuilt ones skyrocketed, making them unaffordable for poor and low-income households.
Destroyed public housing wasn’t replaced.
Thousands of damaged poor neighborhood homes were demolished to prevent residents from returning.
Heavily damaged or destroyed public schools were replaced by high-tuition private ones.
Unionized city employees were fired and rehired at lower pay with few or no benefits.
Damaged hospitals in poor areas weren’t repaired or rebuilt.
Black residents in areas wanted by developers for gentrification were prevented from returning home.
Thousands of poor kids — mostly Black — lost public schools to return to.
Displaced residents were left on their own to relocate elsewhere. Many ended up out of state.
New Orleans was a metaphor for disaster capitalism.
Will something similar play out hard hit parts of Texas and elsewhere nationwide when other disasters occur as they surely will ahead?
VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”
“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”