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Nearly 5 Million Americans In Darkness As Deep Freeze Spreads

snow texas

The energy crisis crippling Texas’s power system continued to spread, with nearly 5 million people across the U.S plunged into darkness as authorities fought to avoid a total collapse of the grid.

Homes and businesses from North Dakota to Texas are losing power in the middle of an unprecedented deep freeze that has broken daily temperature records in hundreds of places.

The blackouts are likely to continue throughout Tuesday with no firm end in sight as the cold weather is forecast to remain through Wednesday.

Officials have reported two people dead, likely from cold, according to the AP news agency. Medical centers are rushing to administer vaccines before they go bad. Flights are grounded.

More than a million barrels a day of oil and 10 billion cubic feet of gas production are shut while pipelines have declared force majeure and massive refineries have halted gasoline and diesel output.

“I’ve been following energy markets and grid issues for a while, and I cannot recall an extreme weather event that impacted such a large swath of the nation in this manner — the situation is critical,” said Neil Chatterjee, a member of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The cold blast is just the latest in a chain of severe weather events that have shaken power grids and upended energy markets globally from Japan to Pakistan and France in recent months. […]

About 4 million homes and businesses were without power across Texas on Tuesday, based on utility outage data compiled by Poweroutage.us. Another 400,000 were down in a swathe of states stretching from Louisiana to Ohio and Virginia. About 250,000 were without power in Oregon.

In Mexico, over 4.7 million homes and businesses went dark after Texas’s shortages triggered cascading failures. But about 65 percent of those affected in Mexico had seen their power restored by midday, according to grid operator Cenace.

Read rest at Financial Post

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