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Family of Texas Boy Who Died in the Cold Sues

Says state's power providers are to blame for boy's death
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2021 12:18 AM CST
Updated Feb 22, 2021 6:43 AM CST

(Newser) – The family of Cristian Pineda, the 11-year-old Texas boy who saw snow for the first time and died the next day during the state's deep freeze, is now suing the state's power providers. The $100 million lawsuit against the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Entergy Corporation alleges they were grossly negligent in not winterizing the power grid or taking other action to prevent the two days the family went without power and heat amid temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. "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 preemptory action that could have averted the crisis and were wholly unprepared to deal with the crisis at hand," the lawsuit states, per ABC News.

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There have so far been reports of more than 30 weather-related deaths in the state, and the Pineda family's lawyer says he is representing seven families in total. "Cristian’s lawsuit is the first and his lawsuit should be the first," he says. "This kid is going to change Texas and God bless him for that." He, and the lawsuit, say it was the prioritization of money over people that led to Pineda's death as he slept huddled under blankets next to his brother in the family's mobile home Tuesday in the Houston suburb of Conroe. "These power providers and ERCOT knew long before many of us knew it," he tells Click2Houston. "They knew they didn’t have the capacity, they knew they had not winterized their sources of power and they put people in a lot of danger." He also blames the companies for only warning customers that rolling blackouts would be coming, not the days-long blackouts that ensued in many areas. At least two other similar lawsuits have also been filed so far, per the Star-Telegram. (Read more Texas stories.)

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