AUSTIN, Texas — As Congressman Greg Casar joined us on Inside Texas Politics from Austin, temperatures were well into the triple-digits.
He’s also received the same alerts as other Texans asking for energy conservation due to high demand straining the power grid.
The Democrat says Texas needs to connect its grid to the rest of the nation so it can pull in electricity from other states. Because flying solo just isn’t working.
“When we need help, we can’t get help. And when other states need help, we can’t sell them power. And that just doesn’t make any sense,” Casar told us on Inside Texas Politics.
Casar is drafting legislation that would require Texas to connect to the national grids.
And he says making our grid more reliable is a much larger issue than a blame game between renewable and non-renewable energy sources.
When our long, hot summer finally ends, history will record it as our second hottest ever. The state’s climatologist says Texas’ average temperature between June and August was 85.3 degrees. 2011’s average temperature of 86.8 stands as the record.
But it was winter storm Uri that took the grid out in 2021.
While the vast majority of Texas’ grid stands alone, we do have a couple of pockets that are connected nationally and neither of them went dark during that time.
“And during that winter storm Uri, you didn’t see mass blackouts in Jasper. You didn’t have mass blackouts and power outages in El Paso because they were able to pull in power from their neighbors,” said the Congressman.
Casar is also asking for a federal investigation into heat-related conditions in prisons across the country, with special attention paid to Texas.
He was one of 14 Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to sign a letter sent to committee chairman James Comer.
Here in Texas, about 70% of prisons have no air conditioning. And it’s not just inmates, as guards have to suffer through the oppressive heat as well.
Casar says there are plenty of dollars out there to help install A/C in our prisons.
“People have been reportedly putting their bed sheets into the toilet to be able to wipe themselves off and cool off and survive. And that’s just not right,” Casar said. “People in prison are getting held accountable for what it is that they have done. But it is unconstitutional and unamerican for us to engage in cruel and unusual punishment.”