Texas legal news in 2021 not only reflected the debates and court disputes being heard all across the country, but also frequently led those conversations. Each day through the end of the year, Androvett Legal Media & Marketing takes a look at the Top 10 Texas Legal Stories that shaped 2021.
The Texas Deep Freeze
The mid-February weather event known as Uri froze Texans from border to border, sparking a wave of fatalities, property damage, litigation, deadly crashes on state roadways, and second-guessing about regulatory reform to improve the readiness of the state’s power grid.
More than two out of three Texans lost electricity at some point during the storm, almost half lost access to running water and nearly one-third of residents reported water damage in their homes. A report by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston revealed that, at its peak, Uri left close to 4.5 million homes and businesses without power, left more than 100 people dead, and caused an estimated $295 billion in damage. The storm is the single biggest insurance claim event in state history.
The blackout also exposed how a generation of deregulation had hobbled the statewide electricity grid. Despite ample warning about the storm, the state’s power generators and natural gas providers were not optimized for the conditions leading to frozen coal-fired generator equipment and a snowballing series of power failures.
In the aftermath, state lawmakers enacted a number of new requirements, including the establishment of an energy emergency alert system, deferrals of bill collection during extreme weather events, and the weatherization of power generation and transmission systems. However, some critics have questioned the anticipated effectiveness of the regulations and the legitimacy of the related pass-through costs to businesses and consumers.
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