Why Was Texas So Vulnerable To The Recent Freeze?

The point of being resilient is to be able to weather life’s storms, metaphorically and literally.

Yet the state of Texas recently failed at handling a few days of cold temperatures. Big time.

Poorly-insulated houses exploded, more or less, when their pipes burst and the resulting water flows easily brought down ceilings and walls:

<img class=“aligncenter wp-image-609709 size-full” src=“https://peakprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/TX-Storm-damage-1-2021-02-26_7-42-38-1.jpg” alt="“burst pipes” width=“640” height=“358” />

This happened to so many homes that water pressure dropped below critical levels and entire communities suddenly lost their access to water.

So why was Texas so vulnerable?

Sure, the temperatures were far colder than the state normally experiences. But the real culprits here are the same ones that will sink our future in other areas: greed and short-sightedness.

By skimping on insulation a house can be made more cheaply. Hence the greed. By skimping on insulation, the future is sacrificed (because these homes will require massively more energy to heat and cool over their lifetimes). Hence the shortsightedness.

It’s really not all that hard or much more expensive to deeply insulate a home – say to “R40/R60”, meaning an R-rating of 40 in the walls and 60 in the ceilings. By doing this a few more dollars are spent up front, but then many multiples of those dollars are saved over time, which is to say nothing of the preservation of the future energy BTUs that won’t be wasted.

In many ways Texas’ experience with the cold snap is a huge object lesson in how the future is going to (continue to) unfold.

Common home construction practices reveal a profound disregard for the future. Wouldn’t a more mature culture somehow manage to build homes that can withstand a few days of cold temperatures? And if that were done, wouldn’t it also be true that those same homes would also be more efficiently cooled during the hot days, too?

The only reasons you might fail to insulate properly is because, well, you simply are operating under the false assumption that the future will be more or less exactly the same as the present. That the climate will remain stable and that sufficient energy will always be there to heat and cool our homes.

These are two very awful assumptions, each easily proven to be illogical and erroneous.

A Systematic Nightmare

One thing the Texas cold snap laid bare was just how unprepared its electrical and energy distribution systems were for this event.

Natural gas pipelines with too much water vapor in them froze solid cutting off gas supplies to electrical generating stations. The further loss of nearly all the wind generation and solar inputs further starved the system of needed juice. The entire system very nearly crashed, forcing the utilities to turn to rolling blackouts to compensate.

These, in turn, were (predictably) often executed in a manner that betrayed the poor and favored money:

Lit-Up Downtown Skylines Are Enraging Powerless Texans

Feb 17, 2021

As night fell over the state on Tuesday, local leaders urged residents to do their part to reduce strain on the grid, describing a dire situation that was only getting worse. Texans whose lights and heat were still on were asked to live as if they weren’t, and to set their thermostats even lower. That’s sound advice. We all need to do our part—those who’ve been collecting the water dripping out of their faucets to prevent a freeze may have noted how quickly drops accumulate in a bucket—but individual effort didn’t get us into this crisis, and it’s not enough to get us out.

That brings us to the crux of the problem: While many Texans are suffering, it seems like the sacrifices are unevenly distributed. Indeed, Texans on social media have kept warm by burning the fuel of white-hot rage as photos circulated on Sunday and Monday nights of brightly lit city skylines. The illuminated parking garages and glowing, empty high-rises towering over cities were taken as a slap in the face by residents shivering in dark homes or dropping the thermostat another degree in order to save a marginal amount of energy.

Of course it’s a very difficult thing to figure out how to cut power to major cities because it often has to be done in giant contiguous areas, not building by building.

Any block with a hospital on it cannot have its power cut. The same is true for areas with other emergency services such as 911 call centers or the pump stations supplying water.

But even with that, the residents of Texas noted there was a striking disparity between wealthier neigborhoods and poorer ones:

<img class=“aligncenter wp-image-609714 size-full” src=“https://peakprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/TX-Storm-winners-and-losers-2021-02-26_8-09-42-1.jpg” alt="“Texas power outages during freeze” width=“554” height=“312” />

This is a ‘tell’ about how the future will unfold. It’s wrapped into the Great Reset narrative. It’s also how nearly all of history has unfolded. The elites seem to skate by with few real sacrifices while the majority of the burdens and pains are borne by the lower classes. Same as it ever was.

Another telling moment was in the shocking prices for electrical service that were billed out to customers.

Electricity, priced in an open and mostly deregulated market in Texas, shot from a few cents per kilowatt hour to $9,000.00 per kilowatt hour at the peak.

Some say this was the market working as intended. A moment of severe supply constraints forced prices to adjust higher, thereby causing consumers to self-ration. However, because the price spikes happened in real time and bills are sent out monthly, this ‘explanation’ isn’t really all that satisfactory. Sending some poor retiree a $16,000 monthly electricity bill two weeks after the event has no effect on supply/demand at the decision point when it might have mattered.

Instead, what we can take from this debacle is that when there’s a very rare event that comes along and disrupts things, the “free market” demands that those bills be paid because, after all, a deal’s a deal.

Ordinary folks will be paying off $50B in Texas freeze costs for decades

After days of freezing temperatures with no power, the lights are back on in Texas. Now, there are bills to pay.

The state’s energy grid didn’t come back all at once and the high demand sent costs from 12 cents to $9 per kilowatt-hour, reported The Associated Press (AP), which added up quickly. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Texas lawmakers are promising relief, and electric companies aren’t turning off power to those who aren’t able to cover their bills, reports the Texas Tribune, at least for now.

But someone will have to pay what BloombergNEF estimates is $50.6 billion in costs from the beginning of the Blackouts until Friday morning. CPS Energy, which serves San Antonio, is among those withholding storm charges for now, saying online that they are trying to spread the costs over 10 years or longer. Either way, however, the customers will likely foot the bill.

Anybody with a memory knows that a deal is only a deal when the bill foots to the average person…but when the rich get caught in a squeeze they demand “do overs”. And they get them.

Remember the “Flash Crash” of 2010?

<img class=“aligncenter wp-image-609716 size-full” src=“https://peakprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Flash-Crash-May-2010-2021-02-26_8-26-03-1.jpg” alt="“Chart of May 2010 Flash Crash” width=“398” height=“256” />

That happened in ‘a market’ where ‘a deal is a deal.’ I knew people who made, for a brief period, a lot of money by being positioned for just such a crash. Why a brief period? Because that crash was going to cost a lot of well-connected brokerage houses a lot of money and so, predictably, the SEC stepped in and busted these losing trades. They imply undid them.

They enforced a “do-over” for those in power:

Regulators ended up cancelling trades in U.S.-listed securities that saw declines of 60% and worse during the five-minute meltdown. About 70% of the busted trades involved ETFs, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said in a joint report on the day’s chaos.

(Source – MW)

Rich people losing money? Oh well, then I guess we have to bust those trades. Hedge funds losing a lot of money on their GameStop naked shorts? Oh well, then I guess we just have to ask the Robinhood trading app to limit their clients activities to selling only.

Electricity prices spike many tens of thousands of percent due to ‘unforeseen’ circumstances that were entirely predictable after all? Oh well, then I guess ordinary Texas citizens will still have to pay those bills.

That’s the pattern here. Head they win, tails you lose.

You know what I cannot find anywhere, except for one small article about a relatively small amount of the $50 billion Texas electricity price tag? Who’s on the other end of that $50 billion windfall. It’s a legit question…who’s getting all that money?

I understand ‘market forces’ and all that, but strip away the mumbo-jumbo and you’ll quickly deduce that, in terms of capital utilization, the exact same power plants and service lines were in use during the days of the cold snap as in the days before it. No new infrastructure was built. No capital expended. Costs simply shot up.

So if one set of parties is out $50 billion, who’s got it? Where did it go? To whom?

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, although it really shouldn’t be.

Here’s that one, relatively insignificant article that allows us to track a few hundred million of the cash flows:

Texas energy woes are windfall for Australian bank

The deep freeze that plunged millions of Texans into darkness is rippling through energy markets in unexpected ways, producing a financial windfall for an Australian bank and severe pain for other companies caught up in the disruption.

The turbulence led to a bonanza for commodity traders at Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd., whose ability to funnel gas and electricity around the country enabled them to capitalize on soaring demand and prices in states such as Texas.

The bank bumped up its guidance Monday for earnings in the year through March to reflect the windfall. It said that net profit after tax would be 5% to 10% higher than in the 2020 fiscal year. That equates to an increase of up to 273.1 million Australian dollars, equivalent to around $215 million. In its previous guidance, issued Feb. 9, Macquarie said it expected profits to be slightly down on 2020.

Oh good. A bank. A foreign bank.

That should help ease the pain of ordinary Texans as they confront budget-busting electricity bills. Commodity traders win, ordinary people lose. Same as it ever was, especially in a financialized economy without a heart.

Again, this is a metaphor for what we can expect going forward. Heads they win, tails you lose. The rules is simple – if a windfall is headed in the correct direction (towards power and money) it will be allowed to stand. If it heads in the wrong direction, the trades will be broken, the rules will be changed, and if it’s serious enough, there will be instant lawsuits and Congressional hearings, as we saw around the GameStop debacle.

The Most Expensive Disaster in Texas History?

We might want to ask ourselves too, about the larger lesson here. How is it that a simply cold snap – albeit historically rare – could well prove to be the costliest disaster in a state that is no stranger to disasters?
Winter storm could cost Texas more money than any disaster in state history

Feb 25, 2021

The winter storm that left dozens of Texans dead, millions without power and nearly 15 million with water issues could be the costliest disaster in state history, potentially exceeding the $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Harvey.

The deadly 2017 hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast region. Last week’s winter storm impacted every region of the state, a reason why experts and officials are discussing the possibility of damage and cost exceeding those from Hurricane Harvey.

“All 254 counties will have been impacted in some way by the freeze,” said Lee Loftis, director of government affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. “That is just unheard of.”

We now live in a world of what I now term ‘climate instability.’ The remarkable – and geologically rare – climate stability of the Holocene granted humans the ability to really settle down and organize.

Climate instability makes it difficult to do things like farm and build up civilizations in any one spot. The cold snap in Texas destroyed a lot of crops. Droughts, floods, heatwaves and cold snaps are all agriculturally limiting events. Pack enough of them together and you suddenly have a real predicament on your hands.

Are we leaving a period of awesome climate stability and heading into a period of climate instability? Sure seems like it.

The more immediate lesson here is that even a relatively small amount of climate instability – such as what Texas experienced when the jet stream got wobbly and allowed a blob of cold air to escape its fencing embrace – can be enormously expensive to an unprepared civilization.

Texas was unprepared, just as we are all largely unprepared for a future of extremes. We can measure that in costs, in dollars, but really we should be thinking of it in terms of the energy costs required to rebuild and reshape our entire built infrastructure to be both more energy frugal and resilient to whatever extremes are coming next.

That’s the main lesson from Texas that ought to be front and center in people’s minds; the fragility of it all. The obvious lack of readiness on display. Maybe too elevating the reasonable concern that we’re going to face more and more of these sorts of events as greed and short-sightedness prove to be a poor match for the future we’ve created for ourselves.


I think we should really sit back and reflect on Texas and what it tells us about our current state of readiness and what the future might hold.

The obvious conclusion is that Texas was not ready and was not resilient. At least not at the systems level. Not as a political culture either.

This means that individuals and communities in Texas (and elsewhere) really ought to apply their efforts towards becoming more resilient on their own terms.

Distributed energy systems can be created, houses can be more deeply insulated, and networks of neighbors can help each other during such periods of stress.

One example: as a homeowner in the northeast I know how to shut off my water and drain pipes, which I would do defensively and proactively during a sustained power outage and cold snap. Doesn’t take all that long.

But you have to know how to do it, and even that it has to be done.

Because if you don’t…

<img class=“aligncenter wp-image-609718 size-full” src=“https://peakprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/TX-Strom-Damage-2-2021-02-26_8-02-12-1.jpg” alt="“Texas storm damage to ceiling” width=“604” height=“404” />

That cultural awareness and skill set wasn’t part of the Texas DNA, which only makes sense given the rarity of the event. But it was certainly there in some of the people, in some old-timers I bet. The resilience skill set was out there and with appropriate social capital in play, it could have been brought to use and been tremendously helpful.

The larger lesson here is that your skill sets really will make all the difference in a world of rapid changes and increasingly large,potentially chaotic, events.

I’d love to hear from our many Texas readers about their own experiences during the recent freeze. I’ve talked with several of you by phone, and your stories are really important for others to hear.

So if you feel like sharing them, please do in the Comments section below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://peakprosperity.com/why-was-texas-so-vulnerable-to-the-recent-freeze/

…and welcome back, buddy.

We had not had 6 degree temps here in 70 years, so this was unprecedented. The first night rolling blackouts took out electric heaters (many need a manual reset after a power outage). We had faucets dripping but 3 out of 4 of our ranch pumps went out. One submersible pump installed in 1996 cratered from old age/combined with power surges. (The pump which was set at 400’ actually broke off the bottom joint of sch 80 pipe and fell to the bottom of the hole.) At 2:30 am…dressed like a Russian peasant in an ushanka and insulated car hart jeans I secured the well house and got 2 jet pumps working. (often the first pipe to freeze is the 1/4” small pipe to the pressure switch). We had shut off and drained our Water line that went 1/2 mile to our big garden and troughs we have for deer and wildlife, so that was not in play. One of my greatest concerns was the greenhouse with about 1000 transplants in various stages. It has propane heat, but needs power to run the fan and igniter. It turned out that the one hour blackouts were easily handled by our well insulated greenhouse and it stayed at a nice 60 degrees by kicking on whenever the power came back. Our house was the same…propane heat and good insulation…were were fine without constant power. One thing that I did rig up was a 250’ run of 10-2 with ground Romex from my solar backup battery bank down to the well house… this allowed water pumps to run regardless of blackouts and kept water to the horses and the greenhouse. So bottom line, on a personal level we were fine.
Now for our community…I would give our town very high marks. Once the freeze was over anyone with plumbing skills and parts started helping neighbors. 90% of the work was free …donated… neighbor helping neighbor. I personally help 3 families get their water systems going. One was frozen pipes that I was able to thaw with a propane torch. Another was an older lady whose old pump had just split in 2. I fortunately had a 1/2 hp. Spare new pump that I put in for her and replumbed her whole pump house. She is very grateful… ( and by the way Paulette is an amazing author…her recent book “News of the World” is now a movie with Tom Hanks) Our fire station became a drop off point for donated pvc pipe and fittings …our firemen actually became plumbers and joined in the process of fixing damaged pipes for the elderly. The town response could not have been better.
And finally on the level of our electric coop…We belong to a small regional coop. They anticipated and bought backup power ahead of time…It’s still not clear how all the statewide billing is going to shake out, but our coop president posted that coop members will not have any power surcharges added to our bill.
Our story is a good one starting from personal prep to local kindness and charity to a well run rural electric coop…The story in other parts of Texas is obviously not so good.

I live in the Dallas area and you are correct not once did I hear anything about draining pipes, only to run water through them.I lost power for the
better part of the 3 coldest days. My son, daughter in law and their 1 and 3 year olds came to our house on the expected coldest night-2. Because their power had been off continuously for the previous 2 days, none of the promised rolling black outs.our power went off at 8:00 and didn’t come come back on until noon the next day in 0 degree weather. When we awoke that morning, the one year olds lips and hands were turning blue. I told the family we had to leave and find warmth. Fortunately my daughter’s house never lost power so with icy roads and no traffic lights working we drove to her house for 3 days.
Although we had power there, that day panic set in about water.Through social media, rumors started flying all over the internet that we were about to lose water. Households all started filling bath tubs full of water before it was turned off. There was a sense in many houses that we were on our own, the system was failing and government couldn’t be depended on. The grocery stores were out of food, no bread eggs water meat and gas stations were low on fuel because the roads were impassable To be expected many families were running out of food. I was disappointed that I had not bought a generator because I knew this was a possibility.I was much better prepared then most but not where I need to be.
Now the blame game has started leaders blaming each other. The Director of ERCOT just resigned, he made $800,000 a year.It’s just a fact that we can longer count on government to
take care of us, we are on our own .Lastly Texas has grown too fast and infrastructure has not kept up with our growth. And misguided arrogance that we are better then everyone else doesn’t allow us to be part of a national grid of power. So disappointing but not surprising it happened and it will happen again. I could say much more but you get the idea.

Even when we make mistakes. Our educational system has long failed to teach practical tools for surviving difficult times. Being raised to ignore natural disasters is a bet (trade) they won’t happen. Well, sad to say, they do.
“Make hay when the Sun shines.”
Thanks Chris for teaching and reminding us about resilience!

this is a wonderful story…Thanks so much for taking the time for a full description.

Texas is vulnerable because …

  • they don’t listen to their (true) scientists.
  • they ignore the details of Climate Change. If they listened, they would have more Storage.
  • the choice to isolate with the single Texas energy market.
    Maybe they should learn to store their methane instead of flaring it off.

I have always found the concepts of “price gouging” (a crime) and the “supply/demand principle of free markets” to be a conundrum. If I were to have traveled to Texas with generators, five gallon cans of gas and bottles of propane and charged double the normal price here is what would have happened. 1) people would have gladly paid the price I asked (supply/demand within reason given the need and my costs); 2) People would have not been blind-sided by the costs; 3) I would have been arrested for criminal activity. Meanwhile the powers that be, mentioned above, changed the prices from $00.12 to $9.00. Oh, by the way, the folks being gouged were not aware of the price (buried in the fine print) as the were trying to salvage their homes by using heat. Unbelievable. And I found this on Texas gouging laws at patriotsoftware.com: (my comments in parentheses)
Here’s a look at Texas’ laws against price gouging:

  • What is considered price gouging: Exorbitant or excessive price (no question there)
  • When price gouging laws apply: After a disaster declaration (hmmm, not sure if it was declared)
  • Products or services the law applies to: Necessities (electricity for heat is a necessity if you don't have a wood stove or fireplace)
  • Lookback period for price comparisons: Before the declaration (again 12 cents per Kilowatt hour VS $9.00)
  • Penalty: Up to $10,000 per violation, plus $250,000 if the consumer is elderly
  • Texas' population is 29 million, whole state effected, they have some old folks in Texas...you do the math if you think the above criteria fit the description of price gouging.

Check out her prediction of a Grand Solar Minimum, that she says will be with us through 2050.
The climate change crowd was not impressed with her prediction. Her reply was something like this. Your predictions will take decades, at best, to confirm. We will know if I’m right in a year or two.
NASA is now seeing her sun spot predictions happening.

an australian bank? really? a fucking australian bank?
“burn granny burn”
“freeze granny freeze”
at least with enron some perps went to jail.
probably not this time

Unbelievably I closed on my house in Texas on February 12. I did so remotely as I am still in Maine. The idea was to have a small place in Texas near family to escape during winter. The joke’s on me.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that this native Texan is embarrassed by her home state. Hell, the politicians alone regularly make world news let alone national. But I thought surely I can suck it up for a few months a year to be closer to family. (I’m 70, single and childless)
Back in the late 90s I was part of a group that ran disaster scenarios with an eye to computer failures. (I was a software consultant). We accurately predicted the Katrina scenario. Never did we predict Hurricane Harvey or the latest episode of Snowmageddon starring Texas. See that’s the thing. It’s the unimaginable that will trip us up every time. Who had COVID on their bingo card?
The lesson I’m taking from this is COMMUNITY. You cannot go it alone. Small is better. That little local electric co-op that Oliveoilguy spoke of managed much better. (My new home is serviced by a co-op.) That and I am just as likely to freeze to death in Texas as I am in Maine. I’ll take that back. We are far more prepared for such here in Maine. And it’s a lot prettier here.

I lived in the Alabama for 12 years.
One thing I noticed about many homes in the South was the tendency to place water heaters and water pipes in attics. This saves floor space on single story homes.
This design results in increased damage from freezing weather. Ceilings, walls, and floors are damaged whereas “only” floors and parts of walls would be damaged with ground floor installations.

Stories of resilience, or not. 100 year events happen on average every, well, 100 years. On Jan 9 1880 Seattle got 5 ft of snow. In the northwest most people say we don’t get hurricanes, except we do. Old stories of debris fields 60 ft deep were believable after our storm 2 years ago, (our debris fields were only 12ft deep), our storm surge marked by shell deposits and logs. Our community opened the roads and checked on those in need;… social capital

i have been in construction for almost 50 years.
people need to remember “code is minimum” rinse and repeat ad infinitum
home builders are in business to make a profit. tract homes which many live in are built to “code” mostly. some more than others. to make a profit in a competitive market means every penny saved is a penny “earned” . most will not want to hear this but the consumer is just as responsible for poorly insulated, constructed homes as the builder and maybe more so.
you get what you pay for. we live in a walmart society “lowest prices always.” if consumers are willing to pay more for quality they will get quality.
when matthew hit the gulf coast at mexico beach it wiped everything away. everything it wiped away was built to “code” one guy who built his house built it better than code. it did not get wiped away. it suffered no damage.
one big lesson for texans (and hopefully others) is “normalcy bias will get your ass killed”
as stated it does not cost much more to add more insulation but for a home builder building hundreds of homes a year in subdivisions "code " is good enough. you know when changes come to “code” ? when failures occur. it is an empirical process.
drive around amerika and look at what the amerikaan dream looks like. the same roof lines, the same color shingles, the same brick, every thing is the same. it’s a not too glowing tribute to amerikaan ingenuity.
on the one hand amerikaans can become better informed consumers of the biggest investment they are likely to ever make, but at the same time money is harder to come by. every penny counts and no one (well almost no one) plans for a once in 100 year possibility.
here is a little scenario. when i first started building in my area the only framing lumber you could find was douglas fir. it is an excellent framing material. as the area started to boom it attracted builders from elsewhere who used spf. spf is cheaper. i wouldn’t build a dog house with it. it is not nearly as strong and does not hold nails well. now douglas fir is a special order. in 50 years the quality of lumber has deteriorated dramatically to the point where span tables need to be updated periodically. i tore down a double wide trailer that was 50 years old. the studs in it were #2 douglas fir. they would now be considered select.
with the materials available today it is still possible to build houses that will last 500 years or more. but until the consumer is willing to pay for it, they will get houses that have 50-100 year lifespans that ironically will cost far more in the long run
welcome to walmart nation. “lower prices everyday”

For les@#8
Picture an upright freezer then open the door to it and stand right in front of it … barefoot. Within a minute or less you will feel the cold on your feet, soon your toes will get very cold and soon you will not be comfortable standing there and will move.
While all of this is happening the mint chocolate chip ice cream* on the top shelf will start melting. This is why most freezers are chest freezers.
This is what is happening with the North pole which has been explained 100 times over the last several years. During the Tex Freeze it was 20 degrees warmer that normal in parts of the Arctic. It was warmer in Greenland, Alaska, Norway and Sweden than in Texas and Oklahoma. Sun spots had nothing to do with it.
*Any flavor of ice cream will do.

Alex Jones and David Ike
just sayin…

We are in the coastal county of Brazoria. Power was cut off for almost 3 consecutive days during the coldest part when temps sank into the teens and temp inside the house almost sank to the 30’s (we had no generator). When the garage became colder then the fridge, we moved all the refrigerated food there, and avoided opening the freezers to try to keep that food frozen. That worked out fine. Our internet & cell service was cut off half way into that time period, I don’t know whether 911 would have worked. Rolling power started after that, with outage intervals 2-3 times as long as powered intervals. We didn’t lose water because our rural subdivisions have their own water supply with backup power that kept it going. We prevented burst pipes by continuous dripping and then running faucets full blast for a few minutes every couple of hours to flush out any ice forming in the pipes, will be “interesting” to see the next water bill. We are on fixed-rate electric contract so our bill was actually a little lower due to power outage. People on variable-rate contracts got screwed. People with smaller electric companies also got screwed because their companies folded, leaving them on the highest possible variable rate with the default provider, and unable to get on another contract because the rest of the companies would not take new customers. So going with a little higher fixed rate with a larger company appears to have saved our a$$ in that department, unless there is some kind of surcharge my electric company is allowed tack on to the next bill.

What your writeup claimed is that some commodity traders at an Australian bank will now report reasonable financial performance because they received less than half a percent of the $50 billion windfall. Not a significant rant - except that it is suggested that commodity traders may be the main benefactors. And quite possibly that stateside commodity traders from the big-name banks may be the prime benefactors. As such, it is a rare opportunity for the Federal Reserve to take back some of this QE money that the banks are supposed to be, but not, lending out. Basically, the Fed can make this their windfall and wind down a little bit of their, as you say: “money printing”. This action as the Fed’s response to the belligerent banks not playing the Fed’s game.
As a lower-middle-class Texan with a gig-worker career, the cold weather was brutal but didn’t affect me, outside of getting nothing done. To keep my property taxes at rock bottom, I have learned to survive over 30 yrs in a shell house without the typical amenities, consuming 35-40 kwh of electricity per week. So other Texans will be paying for this disaster. At this particular point in time, the condition of my house is not much different than any other Texan’s house. If they’re smart, they will not try to fight nature and leave their abodes like they are now, outside of cleaning up their mess.

Cold air falls, warm air rises, hence the freezer phenomenon.
But Texas is not lower down than the North Pole. The jet stream did not fall down the stairs from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf Coast.

Taking advantage of other’s people suffering…
Those people are not human.