Where are elected officials?
All for the market
Regarding “Perry says Texans willing to suffer blackouts to keep feds out of power market,” (Feb. 17): Former Gov. Rick Perry, thank you for your bold willingness to sacrifice a large swath of the Texas population for the market’s freedom. Perhaps first, though, you should visit our cold, dark homes before volunteering us to suffer an extended power outage during a freak winter storm.
Can I offer you two days without power in the freezing cold? How about 36 hours plus with a new infant and no water and no electricity? Perhaps I can sit on your chest so you, too, can feel the rush of having no power and thus nothing to run the machine allowing you to breathe at night? Can I offer you a boil water advisory — only useful if you have running water and electricity to power your stove? Can I offer the alternative of bottled water, except all the grocery stores are closed because they have no power, either? How about scalpers selling six-packs of bottled water for $20? Or privatized energy companies who prioritized cheap costs over basic reliability? Where a megawatt hour of electricity costs over $9,000? Act now and you, too, can experience a water shortage inside of a power outage in the midst of a historic freeze during a pandemic!
Your comfortless words are in the same vein as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s suggestion that the elderly wished to sacrifice themselves for the economy. Just like him, you’re happy to let Texans suffer and die to score political points.
Andrew Kozma, Houston
Regarding “Jerry Jones’ gas company ‘hits jackpot’ with surge during Texas power outages,” (Feb. 18): How is this sort of piracy allowed? We prosecute hardware stores for price gouging on plywood, and grocery stores from marking up bottled water, and even hotels from jacking up prices of rooms. But we allow ruthless profiteering by gas and electric companies at a time when people are truly desperate and have no real options. People without fixed rate power contracts, and those whose providers go out of business, can be dumped to providers of last resort and could face bills of up to $9 per kilowatt hour — up to 100 times the pre-emergency rates. That the companies whose careless disregard for basic preparedness helped create this mess should be allowed to pass any of this on to consumers is outrageous. Profiteering is profiteering, even when it’s done by high-profile billionaires and Texas’
favorite industry. These windfalls should be prosecuted, not celebrated.
Bruce R. Bodson, Missouri City
All the electrical generators, whether green or fossil, have another thing in common: They serve the Texas unregulated, competitive market. Investing in winterization cuts into profits, no matter how electricity is produced. The competitive market has driven prices down at the expense of reliability. Millions of Texans today would be willing to pay a little more for reliability.
In a rate regulated utility model, prudent investments such as on-site natural gas storage, heat tracing pipelines and turbines and more reserve capacity would be included in rates determined by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and charged to customers. The Texas Legislature should consider returning electrical generation to a regulated utility model.
Chuck Profilet, San Marcos
Regarding “Why H-E-B comes through in a crisis when Texas government doesn’t,” (Feb. 19): Can we all just agree to put H-E-B in charge of ERCOT? They are clearly the most competent and prepared organization in Texas.
Blake Eskew, Houston
Some seen, others not
Regarding “Ocasio-Cortez among lawmakers viewing damage in Houston,” (Feb. 20): Over the last week, we saw New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas Congresswomen Shelia Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia along with Congressman Al Green and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke raising money for victims of natural and manmade disasters.
I have yet to see Congressman Kevin Brady, Sen. John Cornyn, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt or former Gov. Rick Perry handing out anything other than hyperbolic statements about the other side.
Oh! We did see Sen. Ted Cruz handing out water only after he got caught with his hand in the “cookie jar” and he needed a photo op. I know the party line response, “They’re all working behind the scenes.”
Hats off to all our elected officials and sports icons, like J.J. Watt and Alex Bregman, who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Lester Tyra, Magnolia
It is truly astonishing that the New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would show up in Houston to grandstand when New York state has plenty of its own issues that she should be addressing.
Hank Taylor, Bryan
The Sunday Houston Chronicle details many instances of Houstonians, Texans and those from outside of Texas contributing time and money to help those affected by the Texas deep freeze of last week. This native-born Houstonian wishes to express a heartfelt thank you to all those who are helping those in need.
I also note that President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Feb. 20 (even before the disaster was over), making federal aid possible for the people of Texas. Page three of the Sunday paper reported Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in town helping at the Houston Food Bank. She also raised $4 million to help fund the recovery. This help, both local and from beyond Texas, should remind us of the importance of the word “United” in our nation’s name.
George M. Dolson, Missouri City
Watch out for O’Rourke
Regarding “As Texans freeze, a ticket to paradise,” (A10, Feb. 19): No one is more deserving of being skewered over the coals as Sen. Ted Cruz. Or shall we call him Mr. Cancun Getaway? But in the meantime, Cruz had better start doing what he was elected to do, and put the needs of Texans above his own foolish and selfish needs. And it appears as though Beto O’Rourke is one step ahead of Cruz in helping fellow Texans after the storm. All things considered, it wouldn’t surprise me if O’Rourke targets Cruz’s Senate seat in 2024, with another senatorial run.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater, Fla.
Correction: The ITC explosion noted in the Feb. 21 essay, “Houston has a hidden Tax: Trauma,” took place in Deer Park, not Baytown.