Los Fresnos News

Frigid weather causes widespread problems in RGV

By Tony Vindell
Although today’s temperatures keep climbing up, the cold spell of last week caused widespread problems all over the Rio Grande Valley.
Los Fresnos however, weathered the arctic front much better than other cities in the Valley as hundreds of homes and businesses were without electricity for several days in places like Mercedes, Laguna Vista, Bayview, and on South Padre Island.
Though power was on and off here, most shops and restaurants were open – something which did not happen in many other Valley cities.
One of the hottest items consumed by people from here and elsewhere was gasoline and propane. Some filling stations were out of gasoline but continued doing business as usual.
Harvey’s LP Gas Co. on Texas Highway 100 couldn’t keep up with the demand of both liquids. Lines of vehicles could be seen waiting for their turn, causing a sort of mayhem on Tuesday afternoon.
Freezing rain caused an accumulation of ice on hard surfaces. Many residents found their car doors iced shut.
The cold snap forced many businesses to close in cities like Brownsville where entire blocks of populated areas were without electricity for many hours.
Whataburger, McDonald’s, Burger King, and many of the fast food joints and several H-E-B supermarkets closed last Tuesday as did many other retailers in cities like Brownsville, the Island, and in Port Isabel.
But here in Los Fresnos, very few were impacted by the weather.
Elaido Jaimez, a spokesperson for AEP, said more than 150,000 were without electricity last Tuesday and crews were working around the clock trying to restore power.
Area officials and people familiar with electricity issues were putting part of the blame on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a company that has been managing the grid since deregulation took effect some years ago.
AEP has plenty of power, a source said, but whenever ERCOT says to shut down the lines they have no choice but to follow orders.
Laguna Vista resident Don Maschburm said he spent more than two days without power.
“I moved here from Sacramento a couple of years ago to get away from this,” he said. “So much for rolling blackouts”.
But Bryant Logoria and Stacy Ramos said things in Los Fresnos went better than in most Valley cities.

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