Texas continues to battle after historic winter storm and water provide

Propane tanks are lined up while people wait for the power to turn on to fill their tanks on February 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Mark Felix | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Blackouts continue to plague Texas – and now neighboring Louisiana and Mississippi – as winter conditions slow supply as demand increases.

Problems are spreading and Texas water supplies are now at risk after thousands of pipes burst. Officials are asking Texans to boil tap water to drink.

More than 560,000 customers in Texas still have no electricity, according to PowerOutage.us. While the new numbers represent progress – at one point Tuesday, more than 4 million customers were out of power – it has now been several days in cold conditions with no heat for some.

According to PowerOutage.us, more than 100,000 customers in Louisiana are without power, while in Mississippi nearly 200,000 customers are affected.

“We do our best to schedule events, but I think this goes beyond anything I think any sane person would have said at the same time,” said Joshua Rhodes, a research fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, on Thursday on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange. “It’s something of the perfect storm.”

The wintry conditions affected electricity generation from natural gas, coal, renewables, and other sources, just as consumers turned up their thermostats in freezing temperatures. The network could not keep up with the dynamics of supply and demand and had to switch off electricity for millions of customers.

An estimated 3 million barrels of oil per day went offline. At least a fifth of US refinery production has ceased. Some are just too cold to operate while others cannot receive delivery due to frozen pipelines, among other things.

Energy prices continue to rise. Natural gas gained more than 1% on Thursday and is up more than 10% this week. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose to $ 62.26, their highest level since Jan. 8, 2020. Gasoline futures hit their highest level since July 2019 at $ 1.8486.

“Unprecedented price peaks for electricity and natural gas, at which other energy resources react, underscore the domino effects in all markets,” said the analysts from Citi.

On Wednesday evening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order directing natural gas utilities to stop all deliveries outside of the state.

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