One year anniversary of Texas freeze/power crisis

Media Contacts
Emma Searson

Josh Chetwynd

Resources and interview opportunities

Environment America

AUSTIN, Texas — One year ago this month, a deep freeze debilitated Texas’ power system, causing millions to lose their electricity and the tragic deaths of at least 246 people. On the anniversary of this catastrophe, there is a lot to be learned about the role regulators, other leaders and our power system played – and what can be done in the future to avoid this type of disaster. In addition, this tragedy also provided Texans, and people across the country, lessons on how they can handle the dangers and difficulties created by this sort of event. 

Experts from The Public Interest Network’s national advocacy groups U.S. PIRG and Environment America, its research and policy shop Frontier Group, as well as its on-the-ground state partners Environment Texas and TexPIRG were leading voices on this subject last year and continue to research and recommend policies that can not only help prevent many of the miscues that occurred during the Texas freeze but also ensure Americans are better prepared if similar blackouts take place in the future. 

If you are contemplating revisiting this important event, the following are resources — both reports and people — that can provide valuable context, background and expertise on various key angles that arose a year ago in Texas.

Relevant materials on Texas blackouts from Environment Texas, Environment America, U.S. PIRG and Frontier Group:

Research on the freeze

Consumer protection during a deep freeze

Overviews on renewable energy alternatives

  • We Have the Power includes insights on what it takes to create a resilient renewable grid and on the main steps we need to take to build it 

  • Renewables on the Rise 2021 provides context around the growth of renewables in Texas to date

Personal stories

  • Environment Texas has more than a dozen individuals who have shared personal stories about their experiences during the Texas freeze with the organization.

The following experts are available to interview either over the phone or on camera:

Luke Metzger is the executive director of Environment Texas. He has more than two decades of experience working on energy issues in Texas, including at the state legislature and at the state’s public utility commission. He and his family went without power and heat for three days during Winter Storm Uri. They were, however, able to keep their phones charged thanks to the family electric car. Luke was interviewed by The Economist during the storm about the failures of deregulation; wrote an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News soon after on solutions; appeared in a Spectrum News television story about the legislature’s response to the storm; and was recently quoted by Bloomberg about cold weather impacting the gas supply. 

Emma Searson directs Environment America’s national campaign for 100% renewable energy, working with partner organizations including Environment Texas across the country to advance the vision of a cleaner, healthier and more resilient future powered by renewable energy. Emma’s primary focus is on state-level renewable energy policy, including renewable energy targets and standards. Over more than five years on staff, Emma has co-authored multiple reports quantifying renewable energy adoption in the U.S. and evaluating the potential to shift toward 100% clean and renewable energy. She has been quoted by the Washington Post, Roll Call, Forbes, Grist and other outlets. 

Tony Dutzik is associate director and senior policy analyst at Frontier Group, a public policy research organization that provides information and ideas to build a healthier, more sustainable America. He has researched and written about energy issues for the last 20 years, most recently as co-author of Renewables on the Rise, which tracks the growth of key clean energy technologies across the nation. His work on energy, climate and other topics has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Hill, the Washington Post and other outlets. He is based in Boston.

Teresa Murray is director of the Consumer Watchdog program with U.S. PIRG. She has written or overseen reports and analyses on topics including price gouging during emergencies, toxic consumer products and scams targeting consumers. She’s passionate about educating people about predatory tactics they may face when they’re vulnerable. Prior to joining PIRG in 2020, Teresa worked as a business journalist and consumer columnist for more than 20 years for Ohio’s largest daily newspaper. Her work with PIRG has been featured by media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, NPR and the Los Angeles Times.

staff | TPIN

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