LTE Under Consideration: Fix the Grid

We in Central Texas got another gut punch from wintry weather. Although the grid provided enough gas and electricity, many of us jacked up our bills. Some have trouble paying those bills. There is a simple, cost-effective way to lower bills and to make the grid more resilient: make buildings more energy efficient such as with more insulation.

Better insulation helps the most when the weather is hottest or coldest. During those extreme periods, electricity demand is highest. Increasing insulation will lower demand for energy. That will save people money. It also means in a really extreme even, less energy will be needed. Also, strong insulation will keep people warmer during extreme winter storm and cooler during a summer heat wave. A colleague’s well-insulated home only dropped 10 degrees during winter storm Uri while in my house, it dropped 30 degrees.

Texas isn’t ready for another Uri. We haven’t fully winterized the grid. We need to fix the grid, and we can by insulating our homes better, taking advantage of tax credits and rebates, and urging the Texas legislature to pass several of the bills already introduced to improve energy efficiency all over the state. For our good.

Bob Hendricks

Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Submitted to the Waco Tribune-Herald

February 2023

LTE Under Consideration: Beyond Texas Hospitality

The lights and heat in my house are on tonight. I long took these services for granted. When Winter Sorm Uri struck, I learned that I can’t count on the infrastructure to keep me safe. This week, during an ice storm that left 171,000 Austin households without power, that lesson was reenforced.

How can we protect ourselves? We can’t tame Mother Nature, but we can take action. The Inflation Reduction Act provides incentives to make our homes, businesses and appliances more energy efficient. When more of our homes and businesses use less energy, our homes will be a smaller drain on the grid and our energy will go further. As Texans always have, we can be good neighbors in crisis, but we can do more. We can reduce the impact of severe weather by taking advantage of the IRA and weatherizing our homes and businesses.

Victoria Hendricks

Member, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Austin Chapter

Submitted to the Austin American-Statesman

February 2023