Texas Storms, Power Outages Further Pressure Chip Supply Chains

Chip makers such as Samsung Electronics, Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors powered down their Texas factories this week, per government requests, in order to help the storm-ravaged state conserve energy, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The idle chip factories could further pressure the semiconductor industry as well as the auto industry — which has faced widespread chip shortages in recent months, multiple reports suggest.

Meanwhile, major cloud service providers (CSPs) and large MSPs in the Texas region appear to be holding up well during the extreme cold and rolling power outages.

For instance, Rackspace of San Antonio, Texas, reports that its data centers and associated infrastructure services remain online. Rackspace’s data centers have redundant power via uninterrupted power supplies and generator power systems, and are fully prepared for the rolling blackouts, Senior VP Jim Hawkins told the San Antonio Business Journal.

Meanwhile, MSP-focused software providers — such as Liongard of Houston — remain online thanks to cloud-based business models, and remote work forces that are distributed across the United States.

The situation is less clear for smaller Texas-based MSPs that support local customers as well as their own families. Many of those MSPs have employees and customers who have been working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lump in this week’s widespread power outages, and it’s unclear what percentage of small MSPs and small businesses have remained online and fully functional during the regional power outages. Stay tuned for ChannelE2E updates.

Texas Power Grid: Surging Demand, Shrinking Supply

Extreme winter weather, snow and ice storms knocked power out to roughly 5 million U.S. customers earlier this week — including 4.1 million electric power outages in Texas on as of February 16, according to PowerOutage.US. Other states facing major power outages at the time include Oregon, Kentucky, Luisiana and West Virginia.

In addition to pressuring day-to-day business, the extreme weather and associated power outages have pressured the proper storage of COVID-19 vaccines, Bloomberg Radio reports.

The power grid situation is particularly serious in Texas — where major technology and energy sectors such as Austin, Dallas and Houston have faced extremely high demand during extremely unusual sub-freezing weather conditions.

The extreme weather conditions across Texas caused many power generating units – across fuel types – to trip offline and become unavailable, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers — or roughly 90 percent of the state’s electric load.

The White House issued a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas on February 14 response to the severe winter weather throughout the state.

Texas began deploying “maximum resources to local officials” throughout the state to respond to severe winter weather and to restore power to our communities, Governor Greg Abbott said on February 15.

Snow and Ice Storms Trigger Additional U.S. Power Outages

Elsewhere in the United States, the following states also are experiencing heightened power outages, as of 8:00 a.m. on February 16, 2021, according to PowerOutage.US:

  • Oregon (220,723 outages): Some Oregonians have gone three days without electricity, after an ice storm knocked out the power to the region, OregonLive reports.
  • Kentucky (148,799): At least five people died in weather-related traffic accidents and more than 140,000 Kentucky customers were without power late Monday night after a winter storm packing sleet, rain and snow socked much of Central and Eastern Kentucky, the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
  • Louisiana (122,101):  More than 10,000 people are without power across Louisiana after icy winter storms moved across the state on Monday, a local CBS news affiliate reports.
  • West Virginia (104,747): More than 100,000 West Virginia homes and businesses were in the dark Tuesday morning after a second massive ice storm in less than a week, Metro News reports.

Stay tuned for updates.

Story originally published February 16, 2021. Updated February 18, 2021 with chip maker and CSP information.

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