Texas family suing over boy’s death
The family of an 11-year-old boy who died in recent cold weather in Texas has filed a US$100m (£71m) lawsuit against power companies for negligence.
Cristian Pineda was found unresponsive by his mother in their mobile home last week amid freezing temperatures.
Millions were left without power in the unusually cold weather, which has killed dozens in southern states.
The family suspect hypothermia but police say official autopsy results may take weeks.
The lawsuit accuses utility firms of putting “profits over the welfare of people” by failing to prepare properly.
Both the Entergy Corporation provider and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot) are named in the lawsuit.
“Despite having knowledge of the dire weather forecast for at least a week in advance, and the knowledge that the system was not prepared for more than a decade, Ercot and Entergy failed to take any pre-emptory action that could have averted the crisis and were wholly unprepared to deal with the crisis at hand,” the lawsuit alleges.
Ercot described the Pineda case as a “tragedy” and told the BBC it was “confident that our grid operators made the right choice to avoid a state-wide blackout”.
A spokesperson for Entergy Texas said the company was “deeply saddened by the loss of life in our community”, but was unable to comment further “due to pending litigation”.
The state’s power companies are facing major scrutiny for the blackouts as well as cases where some customers are receiving sky-high bills for their usage.
Texas has a deregulated power system which operates independently from other states.
Governor Greg Abbott has already called for an investigation into Ercot, which manages the grid for over 90 per cent of the state’s customers, over its handling of the weather crisis. (BBC)