NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – As a series of winter storms cut across Texas and the American South, residents are left trying to survive an ill-prepared infrastructure system.
“I have electricity at the moment, but I don’t know how long it’s going to last,” said Cecily Jones, a resident of Katy, Texas, a suburb 48 kilometers west of Houston.
Jones is one of about 4 million people in the U.S. state of Texas — and hundreds of thousands more in southern states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia — whose homes lost power this week because of prolonged periods of unusually cold weather in the region.
She said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees the state’s power grid, has only managed to supply electricity to her home for about six hours each day. With temperatures as low as minus 8 degrees Celsius sweeping across the area, that leaves it extremely cold inside her house.
But heat is just one of several problems Jones said she is facing.
“I haven’t had water for days,” Jones said. “The pipe busted when it froze and flooded nearly my entire home, except for the bedrooms on the other side of the house. If I wasn’t there to shut the water off, my ceiling would have collapsed.”
With millions of other residents in the region struggling through the same storm, Jones said she has been unable to reach the insurance company, or even a plumber.
Instead, she is stuck in her house with few…