Pinda’s lawyers have sued ERCOT and Entergy Corporation for $ 100 million in damages for the death of the boy who died of the cold.
Last Tuesday, Maria Pineda found her 11-year-old boy dead in her bed after a second night without heat. He had fallen asleep under a blanket with his 3-year-old brother. Cristian Pineda had been in the United States for two years and the day before he had enjoyed the first snow he had ever seen.
The official cause of death is to be determined following the autopsy. The family tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him while waiting for the ambulance.
The boy’s mother accuses electricity suppliers of “putting profits above people’s well-being” insofar as they knew the system was unprepared for winter temperatures and, despite being aware of weather warnings, did not take appropriate action in a crisis situation.
Cristian died in the family’s mobile home in a Houston suburb. His mother says he was a healthy boy and his death was caused by hypothermia after they had not warmed for two days in a row.
ERCOT, a supplier to more than 25 million customers in Texas, said it would comment after studying court documents, adding that they were thinking of Texans who had suffered in the past week due to a lack of electricity.
ERCOT officials explained that they had initiated power outages on 15 February as an emergency measure after snowstorms and freezing temperatures.
Actions were needed to prevent catastrophic power outages across the country, they said.
“Given that about 46% of private energy supply has been shut down, we are convinced that our electricity operators have made the right decision so as to avoid a total power outage,” ERCOT said.
Pinda’s lawyers argue that the power was actually turned off “for those most vulnerable to the cold.”
“As a result, I was able to see images of empty Houston office buildings that were lit up, while the caravan park was in the dark,” lawyers said.
In addition, ERCOT misled customers by assuring them that the power outages would be temporary. Instead, there were interruptions for days, during which the provider did not inform about their duration so that eventually these inhabitants could prepare or even leave the area.
“True information could have saved the life of Cristian Pineda, a child.”
The family was without heat for two days at temperatures that dropped to -12 degrees Celsius.
Instead of providing adequate information, ERCOM posted messages on social media warning customers not to wash Valentine’s Day clothes and unplug the less useful electronics purchased in the pandemic.
The family’s complaint also showed that following a severe snowstorm in 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a recommendation report to ERCOT warning of the need to strengthen energy infrastructure for winter conditions.
ERCOT is a statewide provider and is not subject to federal regulation or oversight,
The company hinted in 2018 that it has implemented some recommendations.
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