WHEN THE LONE STARWENT DARK But if there’s one universality for the
As usual, the short-term profit margin took precedence over the long-term welfare of the people. And as Texas scrambled to meet surging demands, the state was mere seconds away from catastrophic months-long blackouts. This storm may seem like an anomaly, but there was a comparable winter blast that hit Texas almost 10 years to the day – and in all that time, no one acted on winterization efforts. In the wake of this calamity, there’s plenty of frostbitten fingers to point at: the state’s power companies, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas which manages the grid, the Public Utility Commission, and finally, the “leadership” from the governor’s office. In the wake of this calamity, there’s plenty of frostbitten fingers to point at: the state’s power companies, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) which manages the grid ( they should rethink that ‘R’ ), the Public Utility Commission (“PUC”), and finally, the “leadership” from the governor’s office. AN AMERICAN AFFLICTION Another wrinkle in this narrative is that America touted Texas as a sort of COVID utopia before the blackouts. Droves of self- exiled Californians pushed eastward to the Great 28th, like a pandemic-induced, 21st- century reverse Grapes of Wrath .
American condition, it’s that we never seem to think the worst will happen. Whether it’s a wild, wintry storm, a stock market crash, or a novel coronavirus, our collective memories are shorter than a tweet, and our attention spans are negligible. But as Texas thaws out, let’s try not to forget... its residents are still recovering, and some are now getting hit with electricity bills of more than $10,000. We’ll take a closer post- mortem look at what transpired, who’s to blame, and how we can prevent the next inevitable crisis in the energy sector. And who better to dig at the truth of the matter than Texas’ sacred son, Cactus Schroeder: Wildcatter. Investor. Oilman. A CACTUS GROWS IN ABILENE I can fathom few names more Texan than Cactus. (Sarsaparilla, perhaps.) And just like his namesake, Cactus is a no-fuss, resilient force of nature that’s most likely unkillable. He’ll still be here when the bomb drops and the dust settles – some sepia-hued, hazy, dime- store fever dream of the West, except he’s real . He sounds just like you’d think, with a dripping twang that invites you in to kick off your boots and stay awhile. When I ask him if it’s fair to call him an oilman, Cactus tells me that’s what he’s claimed his whole life – and that it’s been quite a ride. He’s been in the oil game for longer than I’ve been alive, getting in during the boom of the early 1980s. And if there isn’t oil coursing through his veins, it’s still somewhere in his DNA. Cactus’
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