People wait in a long line to buy groceries at H-E-B during an extreme cold snap and widespread power outage in Austin. Photograph: Jay Janner/AP
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The state of Texas is facing the first major test of its power grid since last year’s disastrous failure. As of Thursday afternoon, as snow and ice moved their way through the state, more than 45,000 were without power.

Governor Greg Abbott, who last year falsely blamed green energy for electrical woes, said the grid was holding up.

In a press conference Thursday, Abbott said Texas is ready to weather the storm.

“Texas has deployed a plethora of resources to ensure our communities have the support they need. Texas is experiencing one of the most significant ice events in decades, but we have taken unprecedented steps to ensure that our power grid continues to function reliably despite treacherous weather conditions.”

Abbott said he expects the state will have 10,000 excess MW of power during peak demand Friday morning.

Earlier in the day on Thursday, more than 70,000 Texans were struggling without electricity in the freezing cold. However, nearly 25,000 of those outages had been restored by the afternoon as 12,000 workers reconnected downed power-lines.

Texans still fearful as memories of last year’s power disaster linger

Many across the state are still wary as memories from less than a year ago remain difficult to shake. Last February, a massive winter storm struck Texas, millions were without power for weeks. The state’s power failure caused an estimated $195 Billion in damages and claimed the lives of more than 700 people.

The electrical failure exposed deep flaws in the states electrical system as bitterly cold temperatures froze key equipment in gas and oil power plants. State leaders, including Abbott, were sharply criticized for failing to heed years of warnings from federal officials.

Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott in the 2022 election for Governor, has made the 2021 Blackout a campaign talking point. Earlier this week, O’Rourke launched a statewide “Keeping the Lights On” tour to hold Abbott accountable for  last year’s disaster.

“Texans literally froze to death in the energy capital of the world. Millions lost light, heat and water,” O’Rourke said in a statement before launching the tour. “But while those in power failed us, we would not fail each other. Everyday Texans stepped up and brought us through this crisis.”

Nate Morris moved to the Tulsa area in 2012 and has committed himself to helping build a more equitable and just future for everyone who calls the city home. As a teacher, advocate, community organizer...