The family of the 11-year-old boy, who died in a portable house in the US state of Texas, where the freezing cold and power cuts negatively affected, started a legal struggle against the companies.
It is estimated that 11-year-old Cristian Pineda was found dead by his mother in the bed where he slept with his brother and suffered from hypothermia.
Stating that the electricity and heating system of the house was disabled for two days, Pineda’s family filed a $ 100 million lawsuit against the electricity provider companies for “causing death as a result of negligence”.
The mother of the 11-year-old alleged in their lawsuit that the electricity companies ignored the recommendations made to prepare their systems for the winter and “put profits before the public interest.”
The temperature in the state, where a state of emergency was declared, dropped to -18 degrees last week. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses could not be supplied with electricity, while the state’s power grid was reported to have collapsed with increasing demand; Around 4 million people were left without electricity in freezing temperatures.
It is also in the case file that the companies did not provide sufficient information to users about the interruptions they applied for certain periods due to the increasing demand for electricity.
‘Companies did not prepare’
The companies named ERCOT and Entergy, which undertake the electricity business in Texas, are accused of not preparing the system for freezing temperatures despite their knowledge of weather forecasts and that they were negligent in the situation.
Speaking to the US press organization ABC, Cristian’s family’s lawyer Tony Buzbee argued that the decisions of companies played a dominant role in the death of the 11-year-old child, “Many decisions that took a long time until the death of this child. This is unacceptable.” .
Attorney Buzbee stated that seven of those who lost their lives due to weather conditions followed the case, saying “Cristian’s case comes first. This boy will change Texas.”
While Cristian’s family reportedly settled in the United States two years ago, his mother, Maria Pineda, said that her son was of a healthy nature and played with snow for the first time in his life the day before his death.
According to the details in the case file, seeing that Cristian did not react, his mother immediately called 911, but the boy could not be saved. The cause of Cristian’s death will be certain after the autopsy.
‘It is negligent not to provide enough information’
The company named ERCOT, which has 25 million customers, stated that they are just examining the case file and will make a statement as a result.
With temperatures dropping below zero, the state’s electricity generating capacity has halved. ERCOT officials announced on February 15 that they had implemented an emergency cut to prevent the power system from collapsing in the entire state, following the blizzard that surrounded Texas.
In the lawsuit filed by Cristian’s family, it is stated that the power outage affects those most vulnerable to the cold:
“The outages lasted for days. Lack of information about the duration of the power outages prevented the plaintiff family from making adequate preparations or leaving the area. Giving enough information could keep Cristian Pineda alive today.”
Energy giant Entergy, which supplies electricity in the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, made a statement about the incident and said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our society. We do not have the opportunity to make a detailed comment due to the continuation of the case.”
Ten years ago, a cold wave that hit Texas in mid-February caused an energy crisis. According to the critics of the companies, although attention was drawn to the disaster that would occur if a similar event was repeated at that time, the warnings made were ignored.
Emergency in texas
More than 100 million Americans experienced severe winter conditions due to the cold weather coming from the North Pole and affecting the whole country.
At least 70 people died as a result of the cold weather. Most people died from traffic accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes or cars.
US President Joe Biden announced that an emergency declaration took place in the state of Texas, which was negatively affected by power cuts caused by freezing temperatures.
Water shortages have also been reported in several southern states negatively affected by snow storms.
Around 150 thousand in the city of Jackson in Mississippi state; More than 650,000 people in the state of Tennessee, including the city of Memphis, experienced water shortages.
Approximately 13 million people could not access clean water due to freezing of pipes.
Since the houses in the southern states were not built for cold weather, the temperature inside the houses decreased to freezing degrees with the collapse of the heating systems.
Churches and workplaces have been transformed into heating centers for the vulnerable.
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