Tuesday, February 23, 2021

11-year-old boy freezes to death in Texas, mother demands $ 100 million from energy company | Abroad


The family of a Honduran boy who died of hypothermia last week in Texas holds two energy companies responsible for his death. The parents of 11-year-old Cristian Pineda start a lawsuit and demand from the companies a monster amount of 100 million dollars, about 82 million euros. “Careful information could have saved Cristian’s life,” the indictment reads.




In the American state of Texas, extreme winter weather caused enormous problems for over a week. US President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency after millions of households suffered power outages. The unusually low temperatures are feared to have killed at least 20 people.

Unprecedented frost

One of the victims is Cristian Pineda, a boy of Honduran descent who moved to Texas in 2019 from his native country to help his mother, brothers and sisters build a better life. His life came to an abrupt end last week when a historic cold snap disrupted the entire state. The Honduran family of five children was without electricity for two days and was forced to huddle together.

On the night before the drama, Cristian crawled into bed with his brother three years younger to keep warm. When his mother tried to wake him up the next morning, he stopped responding. She called the emergency services who were still trying to resuscitate him, but to no avail: the boy had died on the spot, presumably from the effects of hypothermia. Cristian was healthy and had no underlying health problems, his mother told a local newspaper.

She alleges that the power companies have ignored previous calls to winterize the grid. Despite being aware of the bad weather forecast at least a week in advance, bearing in mind that it has just not been addressed in a decade, ERCOT and Entergy have not taken any preventive action that could have averted the crisis ‘can be read in the indictment.

Crowdfunding

Tony Buzbee, the lawyer of the Pineda family, accuses the energy companies of communicating extremely poorly with their customers prior to the freezing cold. He now represents seven families who have lost loved ones in the past week due to the cold temperatures. Cristian’s drama is the first to go to court, says Buzbee ABC News. “This is a boy who died from the consequences of business choices. Many decisions made long ago led to the death of this young man. That is unacceptable. This boy is going to change Texas and God bless him for that. ”

In the meantime, almost 90,000 dollars (approximately 74,000 euros) has been raised for Cristian through crowdfunding. The campaign was initiated by the family to help them return the boy’s body to Honduras. There he is buried by his grandparents.


Quote

This boy is going to change Texas and God bless him for that

Tony Buzbee, lawyer for the Pineda family

Under fire

Texas energy companies have been under heavy fire for over a week. In addition to the lawsuit against Cristian, news came out today that an unknown number of residents of the American state are facing sky-high energy bills. Some Texans received a bill for $ 5000 ($ 4,100). The highlight was a resident who received a bill of more than $ 16,000 for his consumption in the past week alone.

The high prices are the result of an extremely deregulated energy market in the state. This allows providers to adjust their rates at any time because the price is directly linked to the demand for energy. Due to the harsh winter conditions, energy demand has exploded over the past week.

Governor Greg Abbott called on politicians in the state to take action against exorbitant energy prices. Ted Cruz, one of two Texas senators in Washington called for reform of the energy market in his state. “This is wrong,” he wrote on Twitter. There is no longer any question of winter weather. In most places in Texas, midday temperatures rose above 20 degrees Celsius on Sunday.

Response companies

Grid operator Entergy, which supplies electricity to customers in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, says he is deeply saddened by the deaths. The company cannot respond to individual cases, according to a statement. ERCOT, which operates the power grid for more than 25 million customers, said in a statement that it is still studying the lawsuit. “Our thoughts are with all the Texans who have suffered this past week.”

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