Texans Face Hot Summer, Fragile Power Grid
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
AUSTIN, Texas - Some areas of Texas already have approached triple-digit temperatures this month, and there's concern older adults could face grave danger should the power grid be overwhelmed, as it was during a February winter storm. People already have been asked to conserve power this spring as the Texas grid verged on blackouts.
Tina Tran, AARP Texas state director, said excessive heat is a major hazard for people who are medically vulnerable and some older than 65, especially if they live in older homes. She recommended some safety measures, including "wearing the appropriate clothing, limiting your outdoor activities, staying hydrated, closing the blinds to stay cool enough to stay safe."
Tran said that older people, anyone who's overweight or ill, and even infants and young children can be prone to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. She encouraged folks to know the signs of heat stroke and do everything necessary to stay cool indoors, even if it means going to public cooling centers. Tran also reminded younger Texans that during a heat wave it's important to take the time to check on neighbors, older folks and anyone with medical issues.
"In reading some of the stories of people who have suffered, or have even unfortunately passed because of the heat," she said, "often it's because they are rationing, because they are worried about the high bills that they might get."
Last week, the Energy Reliability Council of Texas asked residents to conserve energy to avoid rolling blackouts. Tran said she hopes it was an anomaly but admitted it was concerning. To ensure reliability, she said, anyone can contact their power provider if they're worried about how to pay the bills "and see if they can be put on a plan, just to ensure that their electricity doesn't get turned off, or that they're on a list in case of rolling outages."
This year, AARP worked with state lawmakers to pass legislation that aims to strengthen the state's emergency-assistance registry, known as STEAR. The free registry provides local emergency planners and responders with information on the needs in their community. Texans also can call 211 for information about cooling centers or emergency assistance.
Disclosure: AARP Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…
SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…
CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …
SANTA FE, N.M. -- A New Mexico legislator is optimistic a bill will pass in the 2022 session to prohibit life sentences for juveniles convicted of …