SPONSORED:

Texas mayor: We're just trying to keep people alive and safe for the next two days

The mayor of Austin Texas, Steve Adler (D), said Thursday that city officials are “just trying to keep people alive and safe” over the next few days as hundreds of thousands remain without power due to the crippling winter storm that hit the state.

Adler told CNN’s “New Day” that the situation in Austin is “pretty dire” as problems including snow and ice, subzero temperatures, power outages and limited heat and water keep mounting for residents. 

It is too much to ask of anybody,” he said, noting the persistent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “People are angry and confused and frustrated and I am too.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The mayor called on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and other state officials to provide “a better explanation” of what happened and what will be done to prevent similar problems in the future. He acknowledged that the current priority is to help people get water, heat, food and shelter. 

“The truth is that right now we’re just trying to keep people alive and safe for the next two days, so that’s where all of our focus is,” Adler told CNN.

“Somebody needs to explain what it is that happened here — why we got to this place,” he added. “We also need an explanation and an understanding of how we’re not gonna get back here again.” 

When CNN’s Alisyn Camerota questioned Adler on who or what was to blame, the mayor said it was “real clear” that the power grid in Texas “wasn’t hardened to be able to take the really low temperatures” and requested the state “better regulate our power system.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas was slammed by a winter storm and low temperatures over the past few days, prompting its grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to order rolling blackouts starting on Monday due to high demand.

The order led to massive backlash as millions were left without power on Tuesday and Wednesday, although as of Thursday, that number dropped to more than 530,000 without power, according to poweroutage.us. Abbott called for the state legislature to investigate ERCOT due to the operator’s response to the disaster. 

Austin Energy also warned on Wednesday that its customers could remain without power for another week or more.