Texas Liberal

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Rolling Blackouts In Houston & Texas—We All Need A Safety Valve

Rolling blackouts are ongoing in the Houston-area and elsewhere in Texas as the cold weather settles in for a few more days. There is also the prospect of snow and ice.

(Above–Blackout.)

Blogger’s Note—Here is my snow in Houston post.

What steps can you take to conserve energy so that these blackouts can be minimized?

Here is what is suggested in the Houston Chronicle’s Fuel Fix blog

  • Limit electricity usage to only consumption that is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unessential lights, appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Do not use your dishwasher, laundry equipment, hair dryer, coffee maker, pool pump or other home appliances between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Reduce the opening and closing of refrigerators, freezers and doors.
  • When at home, open blinds and shades during sunny days to take advantage of the sun’s natural heat
  • Turn your thermostat to 68 degrees or lower in the daytime and 55 degrees at night or when you’re away from home.

Why are we having these rolling blackouts in Texas?

Again from Fuel Fix

“A higher-than expected surge in power use due to the cold weather, combined with up to 50 power generating units going offline unexpectedly, led to the emergency.”

This is at least what the energy companies are saying.

Texas is getting some supplemental electricity from Mexico to help us get through the winter weather.

I guess Texas needs help from Mexico beyond the low-wage labor we all benefit from even as some of us bash immigrants.

Here is a general definition of a rolling blackout

“Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service initiated by each utility when supplies of reserve power are exhausted. Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a region-wide outage.”

(Here is a picture of some ND-250 safety valves. Here are some basic facts on safety valves.)

We all need a metaphoric safety valve in life. We all need a release from the pressures of daily life.

It could be reading, working on a blog, exercising, volunteering for a cause we value, keeping up with friends, walking the dog, or whatever helps you complete your life.

These things of value in your life are not the same as a rolling blackout. On the contrary, they may be the times when we feel most alive.

Let’s conserve the energy needed to avoid more blackouts as the cold weather persists in Texas.

Let’s reserve the personal energy we require to have the time and resources to enjoy life beyond what we must do each day to get by.

We can also use our reserves of personal effort to advocate for our political beliefs and to try to make the world a better place.

February 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Galveston & Rumors About Galveston—After Hurricane Ike Post # 3

Here is After Hurricane Ike post #3.

Today is the first full day I have power at home. It’s nice to make these posts at home instead of at the Downtown Houston Public Library. Though I very much appreciate the resources available at the library.

Today I was able to buy perishable groceries for the first time in over a week. In the days leading up to the storm I figured that power would be going out. As indeed it did. So I just bought water and granola bars. 

Now I have fruits, vegetables and milk at home. 

Here is the link to the Houston Food Bank.

Many are still without power. Life cannot be more normal again in Houston until people have power. Still, I bet there are some, if just the smallest number, who have used the time without power to renew a relationship, read something they might have never gotten around to reading, or to think out a problem.

Everybody needs power back and I know what a frustration it has been for so many, but I hope that for at least some it has also been an opportunity of a kind.

I got a comment on another post today from someone without power for a few days now in Columbus, Ohio in the aftermath of Ike.

The Houston Chronicle today offered up an unhelpful editorial about the failure of Galveston city leaders to as of yet devise a good plan for evacuated residents to come back and see their homes. As I said yesterday on this blog, Galveston officials seem overwhelmed. They need outside help.

I hope the Governor’s office or somebody with insight into the problems Galveston is facing, has offered assistance to Galveston city leaders. Galveston is a poor city of 50,000 people. They have just the resources and talent that they have. Hurricane Ike is a disaster of a scope beyond what Galveston on its own can manage.

Fellow Houston blogger Brains & Eggs has posted about rumors of many bodies being washed out to sea from Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula. I don’t believe these rumors. Some maybe died this way. But not hundreds or thousands.

Here is a report on how bad things are in Galveston right now.

Another Houston blogger, Julie Pippert, wonders about pollution from swamped refineries and chemical plants that may have sludged into Galveston Bay as a result of the storm.  

Julie, of course, is crazy. I recall all the ads on TV a few years ago saying how expansion of the Port of Houston would enhance the environment. All that ship traffic is good for the water. I say that whatever ends up in Galveston Bay is for the best. Mankind will be gone soon enough and Galveston Bay will have millions of years to recover.

Below is Bolivar Peninsula after Hurricane Ike.  

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Galveston, Houston, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Four Days After Hurricane Ike, Our Electricity Is Back

Four days after Hurricane Ike we have electricity back at home. Please see above the hallway in our home. (We live in a bunker. Don’t you?) We won’t trip and fall down the stairs so much now that all those lamps are working again.

( Here is information about electricity.)

Below is an illustration of night becoming day. From four days without power, our internal rhythms had already reverted to this more basic measuring of time.

In fact, I regressed a great deal over the four days.  

No problems though. If you’re lucky enough not to have been fully wiped out by Hurricane Ike, civilization, as we loosely define it in Houston, will be back up and running in just a couple of weeks.

If you would like to make a donation for disaster relief, here is the web home of the American Red Cross.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Houston | , , , , | 6 Comments