Negligence and Incompetence
It's not like the electric company doesn't know that they have winter storms in Oklahoma. Every winter, we find storms where hundreds of thousands of people face weeks without electricity. Our homes have become dependent on electricity. In the 19th century they built “Victorian” style homes with small rooms, each with a wood or coal stove or fireplace. But with the coming of electrification in the 20th century all our homes now freeze without electricity. We have become dependent. We count on the engineers and management of the electric company for our very survival, and when it fails many people die. Even if we can abandon our homes and move to some other place temporarily for weeks until the electricity is restored all our plumbing is likely to freeze.
When pipes freeze, they split open. Two weeks later when heat is finally restored many of us will have thousands of dollars worth of repairs to make just for the pipes. As pipes thaw out they often cause flooding and other damage. Some years ago some friends of Bob had frozen/split pipes over the New Year holiday and ended up with 4 feet of solid ice in their basement. Frozen pipes are in your walls, under your floor, everywhere that has to be taken down to fix the pipes. A week of freezing winter weather without electricity is now a disaster, and our electricity hangs on a thread. In the 19th century few people had indoor plumbing so our great grandfather didn't have to worry about frozen pipes, but today we rely on having heat 7 days a week and we are vulnerable when it goes away.
It's not like the electric company doesn't know that we have winter storms. Even those of us who have gas or oil heat, or even wood heat, rely on electricity to operate our gas, oil, or wood furnaces. We have forced air fans, water circulation pumps, combustion blowers, and electronic controls. When the electricity is out the heat stops. We have become almost totally dependent. Even if you have a fireplace, it doesn't help much. A few years ago some friends of Bob were without electricity for 2 weeks. Their family huddled in the living room in front of their nice large fireplace. The rest of the house got really cold, frozen, but they survived in the one room burning wood in a fireplace. That wasn't enough to save their pipes. When the normal heat came back on after 2 weeks the pipes thawed out and sprayed water all over their kitchen, bathrooms, inside walls, under floors. It was a mess that took months and thousands of dollars to repair.
It's not like the electric company doesn't know that they have winter storms. There is no excuse for an electric grid that falls apart when the expected winter storm comes. If we don't have one this winter, we may have two next winter. We know its coming. They know its coming.
Would we live in a house that fell down the first time it snowed? Of course not. We know its going to snow so we build our houses strong enough to hold up with 3 feet of snow on the roof and a wind blowing. But does the electric company build a power grid that holds up? Apparently not. Hundreds of thousands of people end up being without electricity every time we have normal winter weather.
Bob previously wrote an article called Failure after Failure. A half assed electric system that fails on the first normal winter storm is completely unacceptable! The engineers and managers of the power company are guilty of malfeasance of their duties. Our bills for burst pipes, temporarily shelter, temporary generators, and other repairs should be billed right back to the negligent, and deliberately negligent managers and engineers at the power company. There is absolutely no excuse for a system constructed so shoddily that it falls down every time the snow flies. We wouldn't live in a house built that poorly, and we shouldn't accept a power grid that is designed to fail, and built to fail.
If you live in an area where the power has been out, sue the bastards for their negligence. File a class action suit for all 90,000 people who are still without electricity more than a week later. If you are in an area which still has electricity, send them a written notice that you require reliable electricity and will sue them for negligence if they fail to provide it. There is no excuse for failure after failure.