Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Friday, February 26, 2021.
Texas Legislature Energy Hearing Recap
The Texas Legislature began hearings Thursday into last week’s destructive winter storm The state House and Senate show-downs with utility providers and officials at the helm of ERCOT and the Texas Public Utility Commission were billed as a chance for lawmakers to get to the bottom of the failure that knocked out power to 4.5 million homes. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive reports.
Texas Electric Bills
As lawmakers and Texans look to the future of the electric grid after the rampant power outages a week ago, attention has turned to the regulation of electricity in Texas, or the relative lack thereof. A new analysis of data by The Wall Street Journal shows how Texans have been paying more for years when it comes to electricity. Scott Patterson, a WSJ reporter talks to the Standard.
Texas is starting 2021 nearly $1 billion in the hole. While it’s not as bad as some feared, some services will be on the chopping block. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider takes a look at which ones are at risk.
FEMA Disaster Aid
Some of you are wondering if you qualify for FEMA aid after the winter storm zapped power to millions of Texans a week ago. The Standard turns to Kurt Pickering, a Texas-based spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Administration or FEMA, for answers.
Controversy at UTRGV
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is in hot water after its COVID-19 vaccination site turned away several people eligible for the shot. The university has apologized, chalking it up to a misunderstanding of guidelines laying out who can receive the vaccine. But in an already medically vulnerable region – with mixed status families and multigenerational households – community leaders say, mistakes this big can seed distrust.
Non-Profit Offers Housing
For many Texans, life has returned to what is considered normal during a pandemic. But others still have no place to go, a week after freezing temperatures took over much of the state. KERA’s Alejandra Martinez reports.
Texas Infrastructure To-Do List
The Texas Legislature is about to spend months talking about how to improve the state’s power grid. That’s not all that needs retooling. There are aging bridges, dams and wastewater treatment plants that need to be repaired or replaced, not to mention the upkeep that Texas’ roads require. Augustine Verrengia, a civil engineer from Austin and the government affairs chairman for the Texas chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers talks to the Standard about where to start.
The Week in Politics, with The Texas Tribune
All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.