Despite 20% of generators failing during Winter Storm Uri, city officials proclaim ‘infrastructure performed well’

KPRC 2 Investigates reveals city officials were unaware of outdated generators before the winter storm

City of Houston's widespread water problem
City of Houston's widespread water problem

HOUSTON – Natural disasters, whether it’s a vicious hurricane or a crippling winter storm, they force municipalities and agencies into management mode. While managing the unpredictable is challenging, the approach is straightforward.

“Emergency management is structured around: Prepare for the disaster, respond to the disaster as best you can while it’s basically active, and then recover from the disaster,” Dan Krueger said.

Krueger is the former director of Public Works for the city of Houston. He knows the city’s water system and its operations quite well.

KPRC 2 Investigates spoke with Krueger during our investigation into approximately 20% of the city’s generators not operating correctly during February’s freeze.

For days, the city essentially went dry. Emails we obtained through a public information request laid out a desperate search for generators. The search going as far as Denver. The goal was to place them at operations facilities that went down as a result of the freeze.

“We have generators that are 40 to 50 years old. We have recognized that as a result of this event. Some of these generators need to go to the scrapyard,” said Drew Molly, Assistant Director for Houston Public Works, during a recent infrastructure committee hearing.

Krueger viewed the same hearing as well. When asked about Molly’s revealing comments and whether or not there was proper accountability being done prior to the storm, Krueger offered the following response, “If they were only identified after the storm, then of course not.”

As our report showed, Molly proclaimed that “much of the infrastructure performed well despite these conditions.”

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