'Joke of a state': Texans relying on fast food app to track outages slam utility company
Cryptocurrency / 09.07.2024

'Joke of a state': Texans relying on fast food app to track outages slam utility company

After the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, millions of Texans were left without power. And once again, residents of the Lone Star State were unable to count on Texas' flagship utility company for either prompt service restoration or even reliable communication.Some Texans frustrated with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and main power company CenterPoint Energy (formerly Reliant Energy) not providing residents with an outage tracker found a better alternative — the app for Texas-based fast food chain Whataburger. X account @BBQBryan posted a viral tweet Monday night showing a screenshot of the Whataburger app's locations in the Houston Metro area, with locations that were open colored in orange and the ones that were still closed colored in grey."The Whataburger app works as a power outage tracker, handy since the electric company doesn't show a map," @BBQBryan wrote in the tweet that has since been viewed more than seven million times. "Still nearly 1.9 million power outages."READ MORE: Texas' power grid operator ERCOT calls for energy conservation as extreme heat spikes electricity demandThat tweet spawned a flurry of angry reactions on social media, with some Texas-based X users using the outage tracker as a jump-off point for a larger conversation about how Texas' GOP-dominated government has failed to provide reliable infrastructure for residents."Whataburger has been more helpful in tracking outages than CENTERPOINT ENERGY," tweeted Texas-based progressive activist Olivia Julianna. "This is ridiculous. What a joke of a company and joke of a state to continue to let these major outages happen without investments into burying power lines or upgrading electric infrastructure."Former Houston Chronicle contributor Sara Cress tweeted that she has firsthand experience with CenterPoint as an ex-employee of the utility company, and offered her own surprised reaction to the Whataburger outage map."[A]s a former [C]enterpoint comms employee that struggled with the bureaucracy there when communicating about outages: oh my god," she posted.READ MORE: 'They actually tell the wind generators to stop generating electricity': How ERCOT fumbles Texas' energy gridFormer labor organizer Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, who is president of the youth activist organization NextGen America, observed that "We’re truly living in a dystopia when a fast-food chain is doing more to track outages during a severe weather event than the f*&king state of Texas." X user @USA_Comrade reacted to the initial tweet by posting the popular meme of North Korean defector Yeonmi Park — who famously went on Joe Rogan's podcast and contrasted dubious accounts of life in the hermit kingdom with life in the United States — with the text: "In America you have to check power outages on a hamburger app because the privately owned utilities are incompetent."This isn't the first time restaurants have been used as a means of gauging damage to local infrastructure in the wake of a major storm. The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has admitted to using the "Waffle House Index" as a means of determining the impact to a community in the immediate hours after a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. The index looks at whether Waffle House — which operates 24-hour restaurants primarily in the Southeastern United States — has locations that are open or closed in a storm zone to determine how hard a major weather event affected an area.“If you get there and the Waffle House is closed?” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate has said. “That’s really bad. That’s where you go to work.”Whataburger is apparently aware of Texans using the company's app to track power outages, as its X account quote-tweeted @BBQBryan's post with the text, "Y'all be safe out there!"READ MORE: Texas power grid enters emergency mode to avoid blackouts

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Published by: rawstory

Read full article here: https://www.rawstory.com/whataburger/

  • Carl Gibson, Alternet
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  • United States Of America

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