Texans Reject Grid That Brought Disaster

A majority of voters in the state oppose keeping an independent power grid, reports Bilal Baydoun.

Satellite images of Houston, Texas, on Feb. 7 before the storm. (NASA, Wikimedia Commons)

By Bilal Baydoun
The Appeal

Texas is still reeling from a devastating winter storm that left millions without power amid freezing temperatures, killing dozens and causing an estimated $200 billion in damage and economic losses. 

As Texas lawmakers consider relief measures and debate a path forward, a new poll from The Lab, a policy vertical of The Appeal, shows that Texas voters are overwhelmingly united in support of direct cash assistance to those most affected by the storm. And a strong majority, cutting across party lines, want the state’s energy companies to foot the bill for storm damage. Looking ahead, a majority of Texas voters oppose keeping the state’s independent power grid, which was pushed to the brink of collapse by the frigid temperatures. The results show that: 

  • 80 percent of likely Texas voters — including 85 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents, and 81 percent of Republicans — support a one-time cash payment of $1,000 to $2,500 per household to Texans most impacted by the storm. 
  • 81 percent of Texas voters — including 84 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents, and 81 percent of Republicans — want to tap into Texas’s $10 billion rainy day fund to pay for damages caused by winter weather. 
  • 65 percent of Texas voters — including 74 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents, and 60 percent of Republicans — support requiring energy companies to pay for storm damages through a one-time tax. 
  • 59 percent of Texas voters believe Texas’s power grid should be integrated with the two national power grids, rather than remain independent. 

Direct cash payments provide efficiency and flexibility that is vital in the aftermath of disaster, empowering people to pay for food, rent, transportation, child care, or whatever else they may need to recover. In Harris County, both the county and the city of Houston deployed cash assistance as part of their Covid-relief programs. And Texas State Rep. Ana Hernandez, a Democrat, has introduced legislation that would create a state grant program to fund local, direct payments of between $1,000 and $2,500 to eligible residents affected by the storm. 

Satellite images of Houston, Texas, on Feb. 16, after the storm. Dark patches depict areas left without electricity. (NASA, Wikimedia Commons)

Poll Results

Many Texans are facing extensive costs as a result of the recent winter storms. These include high energy bills, home damage, and other costs. Below is a set of proposals that may help Texans deal with some of these costs. Please indicate whether or not you support or oppose each proposal.

Polling Methodology 

From Feb. 27 to Mar. 6, 2021, The Appeal conducted a survey of 2,300 Texas adults web panel respondents in English and Spanish.The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ± 2.04 percentage points.

Bilal Baydoun is a policy advisor and writer based in Michigan. Previously, he served as a lead policy and communications advisor in the Michigan Department of Attorney General, supporting the executive offices of the solicitor general and attorney general. 

This article is from The Appeal, a non-profit media organization that produces news and commentary on how policy, politics, and the legal system affect America’s most vulnerable people.

Donate securely with PayPal


Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:



6 comments for “Texans Reject Grid That Brought Disaster

  1. Eddie S
    March 19, 2021 at 19:01

    While I don’t doubt those poll results the author cites, I have to admit to being skeptical that it will ultimately be borne-out in the polling places at election time. Besides the ever-present ‘Bradley Effect’, there’s the ‘timing’. While the problems are fresh in the Texans’ minds NOW, 6 months or a year from now when the conservatives start waving the flag in their faces and talking about tax increases, ‘God, guns, & guts’, abortions, etc, etc, most of the voters there will likely revert to the same-old-same-old. There’s just too much history and ‘attitude’ there dragging them back.

    Maybe I’m just a cynical old crank, so prove me wrong Texas… PLEASE!

  2. David Hall
    March 18, 2021 at 23:47

    The grid didn’t fail, the majority of Texas voters failed over the last 20 years by voting for extensive deregulation of the power industry. The power companies were not required by law to modernize or winterize and raised Texas rates higher than the rest of the country, spending the money on executive pay and inflating their stock prices. ERCOT did not have statutory authority to manage power plants, they did their main job of keeping the whole system from tearing itself apart. The politicians and the Texans who elected them are 100% responsible for the fiasco.
    Haha, when it was -4 I was grilling ribeyes on the back porch and staying warm inside with propane fueled catalytic heaters. Life ain’t all that hard…

  3. Jeff Harrison
    March 18, 2021 at 20:49

    There’s your proof. You want stupid, get yourself a Republican.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    March 18, 2021 at 16:14

    No service being provided to the public should be in the hands of private companies.

  5. March 18, 2021 at 16:03

    Well they might oppose it, but they better pay their bill. Sorry Texas – you get what you deserve and your kahunas ain’t nearly as big as you think they are. Think about it. Your senator fled south when it got icy. Texas would benefit from a bit of humility, but I doubt Texas will ever have any of that and so…….it should split into 5 as is anticipated in it’s founding documents. Look it up if you think I’m full of it.
    The sooner Texas is split up the better is what I think and all states and all citizens of said states have got to pay their bills. You get what you deserve!
    Look up the “Council House Massacre” if you doubt me. Texas will NEVER be forgiven for that and makes sense. Texas, which I prefer to refer as Tejas, has been nothing but trouble since that moment in time, and before that occurred it was called Tejas. In fact, I think it dammed the whole country from that moment on -the whole country of the US of a. That was the last chance, and indiscriminate bullets flying spelled the doom for so much more than just that state. It spelled so much doom and Texas will NEVER be forgiven.
    Sorry for repeating myself, but you get what you give.
    I think Texas needs to be split up and then lets start splitting up the rest of it. In the meantime, pay your damn bills if you can.

  6. evelync
    March 18, 2021 at 14:14

    Thanks for publishing this timely piece!

Comments are closed.