The Texas organization in charge of energy, Entergy, a utility company, are being blamed for a teenager’s death amid recent snowstorms in the southern state.
Cristian Pineda, 11, was found dead last week in his family’s Houston home, according to a new lawsuit. The family tried keeping warm by huddling in a single room, and Cristian was placed in a bed with his younger brother, but to no avail.
The boy “died because grid wasn’t a priority, and the energy provider made decisions based on profits,” lawyers for the family wrote in the 9-page suit obtained by The Epoch Times.
Lawyers said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electrical power in most of the state, and Entergy should have invested in winterizing their systems and warned people before the storms struck that they could be without power for days, but failed to do so.
“The failure to adequately inform Plaintiffs of the length of the black outs prevented them from properly preparing for the lack of power, or leaving the area,” the suit states. “Accurate information might have saved Cristian Pineda’s young life.”
When temperatures dropped sharply across wide swaths of Texas, along with loads of snow, on Feb. 15, ERCOT began implementing rolling blackouts as energy generation decreased but demand skyrocketed, as residents tried to stay warm.
According to a GoFundMe fundraiser for the family, they were left without electricity for two days. On the morning the boy was found lifeless, temperatures had dropped to 12 degrees Fahrenheit.
The suit accuses ERCOT and Entergy of gross negligence and seeks damages of over $100 million.
Entergy said in a statement to news outlets: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community. We are unable to comment due to pending litigation.”
ERCOT added: “We haven’t yet reviewed the lawsuits and will respond accordingly once we do. Our thoughts are with all Texans who have and are suffering due to this past week. However, because approximately 46 percent of privately-owned generation tripped offline this past Monday morning, we are confident that our grid operators made the right choice to avoid a statewide blackout.”
ERCOT’s CEO said last week that the power grid in the state was “minutes” from a months-long blackout.
Authorities said Friday that the Texas power grid was back and running at normal operations.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corporation, two federal agencies, and multiple state agencies are probing the grid failures experienced in the state amid the storms.