Brr

Millions of Americans are left without power (again): time for an EP industry

Thursday, February 18, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

Dire straits... Millions of Americans were left without electricity and heat as brutal winter storms continued to wreak havoc across the US. Texas was especially hard-hit, with ~2.7M homes losing power, some for the third straight day. In total, 3.4M US homes were still without electricity yesterday — and some also lost water. Businesses are getting frozen out, too:

  • Walmart closed more than 600 of its ~5K US stores in the South and the Midwest. CVS closed ~775 locations.
  • FedEx and UPS warned of possible nationwide delays, and USPS closed post offices and processing hubs in Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and others, suspended production at car-making plants from Texas to Indiana.

No one was expecting this... Texas is used to hurricanes and tornadoes, but wasn't prepared for extreme temperatures. Neither was its power grid: Texas’ deregulated energy market doesn't incentivize operators to spend on preparing pipelines for a rare winter storm. Meanwhile, demand for heat-providing electricity and gas has soared, putting even more strain on the grid.

THE TAKEAWAY

Emergency preparedness should be a full-fledged industry... Extreme weather has left Americans powerless multiple times in recent years. In 2017, there were hurricanes and floods on the Gulf Coast. In 2018 and 2020, there were wildfires on the West Coast. Extreme weather is becoming more frequent, so the emergency preparedness industry should bulk up. Companies like Honda, Generac, and EcoFlow, sell portable generators. And Tesla sells (way pricier) home solar powerwalls for when the grid goes down. But if companies can provide an affordable package with all the disaster staples (including alternate power), they would be doing everyone a favor.