Letter: Ideology is a power grid problem in the UK and Texas | Daily News Byte


About “UK electricity groups call for cash-strapped aid” (Report, December 19) The issue of power generation and distribution in the UK and Texas has been badly managed, leaving us both with problems that were foreseeable. The issues are well explained in the 1997 paper “Lessons from British Electricity Restructuring” by George Washington University professor, John E Quoca Jr.

The first problem was the privatization of the UK power industry by the Thatcher government, mainly on ideological grounds. Another problem, in the case of the UK, is poor connectivity between different power-generating areas, and in the case of Texas, because Texas, again on political grounds, is not connected to the US national grid. A third problem is the way private companies purchase and market the generated power. And in Texas this means there is no incentive to build power stations to provide standby power when needed.

This lack of connectivity and lack of standby power generation directly led to a five-day power outage in Texas in February 2021, when severe winter storms prevented low temperatures and power demand from being met. The Texas grid shutdown came within hours and required three months to restart. There were no power outages in the two corners of Texas that are connected to the US National Grid.

In the UK, where will the money that UK electricity groups are requesting come from? The UK is already facing economic turmoil due to Brexit, with nurses being underpaid and the health service underfunded. The list goes on. The problem in the UK will be solved by properly restructuring the power generation and distribution system and the problem in Texas will be solved by connecting Texas to the US National Grid.

This is yet another case where the well-being of the people is again at the mercy of the will of the politicians.

Cyril E. Arney
Houston, TX, US


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