The Disconnect: Power, Politics and the Texas Blackout Explore what happened during the worst blackout in Texas history, how we got the electric grid we have today and what could be done to fix it.Millions lost power. Hundreds died. How did this happen? KUT's Mose Buchele explores what happened during the worst blackout in Texas history.
The Disconnect: Power, Politics and the Texas Blackout

The Disconnect: Power, Politics and the Texas Blackout

From KUT 90.5

Explore what happened during the worst blackout in Texas history, how we got the electric grid we have today and what could be done to fix it.Millions lost power. Hundreds died. How did this happen? KUT's Mose Buchele explores what happened during the worst blackout in Texas history.

Most Recent Episodes

The Campaign

Nearly two years after the big blackout in Texas, how big of an issue is the power grid in the 2022 race for governor? We talk with Julian Aguilar, a reporter for the Texas Newsroom. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Midnight Connection

We've already learned how Texas (or at least most of it) is an energy island — mostly cut off from grids in other states. In this episode, we'll hear about the time when one power company went rogue and threw a transmission line across the Oklahoma border. This is the story of why they tried and how they failed to build a bridge off the island — and how it shaped the Texas grid today. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

BONUS: The Megawatt We Don't Use

We've talked about the supply-side fixes — but what about the demand side? The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Fixes

A year and a half after the blackout, lots of Texans are still wondering if they can rely on the power grid. After conservation alerts and one pretty close call this summer, it can seem like the grid is still on a knife's edge. We look at what's changed, what hasn't and how that lack of trust is playing out in one Texan's life. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Money

Texans have seen their electric bills rise dramatically since the blackouts last year. We'll break down all the links in the electric supply chain that each need to get paid — and explain how we'll still be paying the costs of the blackout for decades to come. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Toll

In the time since the blackout, state officials, ERCOT and power generators have tried to convince Texans that they've got things under control. But a lot of people aren't convinced. And with good reason. In this episode, we'll explore how the trauma of the blackout is still with us — and how we still haven't dealt with the true toll of the disaster. We'll hear from one family who lost an entire generation. The Disconnect Season 2 is a project of The Texas Newsroom, the collaboration among NPR and the public radio stations in the state. It received support from FRONTLINE's Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Bonus: The Winterizing

Texas lawmakers passed a law earlier this year requiring power plants to winterize — but what does that really mean? And what about winterizing other things that are needed to make sure the lights don't go out in a storm again?

The Fallout

So what did state leaders do to make sure something like the February blackout never happens again? And what role did deregulation play in the failure of the Texas power grid? Find a full transcript of this episode here.

Bonus: The Great Dam Disaster

A huge catastrophe. Dozens dead. A city without power or water. It's like a miniature version of the February blackouts. Except this happened more than 100 years ago in Texas — and leaders faced some of the same questions then as they do now.

Bonus: The Black Start

In this mini-episode, we tell what happens next if the Texas power grid were to suffer a catastrophic failure. It almost did in February — and if it had happened, there might have been an even bigger problem. Find a full transcript of this episode here.