How the Energy Problem in Texas Failed Houston in February

H-Town has a climate problem—and Bun B says the only solution is switching from red to blue

Bonsu Thompson
LEVEL
Published in
9 min readFeb 27, 2021

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Photograph by Todd Spoth

The weather in Texas this month has been more than just wintry—it’s been deadly. The calamities began in the state’s northern region on February 11, when Fort Worth temperatures dropped to the mid-twenties, freezing the I-35W expressway and causing a 100-vehicle collision. Several people died; dozens more were hospitalized. The crash was only the beginning of a hellish couple of weeks that left Houston — conditioned for average February lows in the forties — without electricity, gas, or water. Some locals went without power for several hours. More went without for several days.

Houston hasn’t been colder since 1989, when record lows hit seven degrees. The difference in 2021 is that the city’s current energy grid is privatized — separate from the national energy grid. Thus, when extreme weather collapsed the grid a couple weeks ago, there was no backup relief. Ultimately, Houstonians literally lost the roof on their homes, froze to death, or perished from carbon monoxide intake while seeking warmth in their vehicles, all because of political interests to keep millionaires rich. The majority of the population survived, but tens of thousands now have to drive around daily in search of hot food and water. Class action suits are inevitable.

Legendary rapper and Houston ambassador Bun B claims the only way to protect his city from future financial and life loss at the hands of capitalist greed is to replace the local powers that be. The former half of iconic rap duo UGK says it’s time to inject new blood into local politics — possibly himself. The man born Bernard James Freeman may have the star power to brighten H-Town’s future. He also would be the trillest elected official Texas has ever seen.

LEVEL: Was there any kind of pre-concern throughout Houston for the approaching storm?
Bun B:
In Houston, we don’t really get winter storms. We were just excited to get snow. Snow comes to Houston on average between every eight to 15 years. My concern was whether my grandchildren had winter gloves, because they’re going to want to go outside and play in the snow. They’ve never played in snow before. I’m 47 years…

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Bonsu Thompson
LEVEL
Writer for

Bonsu Thompson is a writer, producer, Brooklynite and 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow.