Texas power providers Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Entergy Corporation have been hit with a $100 million lawsuit accusing them of gross negligence in the death of a child whose family suspects he suffered hypothermia when they lost electricity and heat in their mobile home during a historic cold snap.
The mother of 11-year-old Cristian Pineda filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the utility giants “put profits over the welfare of people” by ignoring previous recommendations to winterize its power grid, which sustained an epic failure last week and left more than 4 million customers without heat and electricity as temperatures in some parts of the state plunged to single digits.
“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.
Cristian died on Tuesday in his family’s mobile home in the Houston suburb of Conroe while sharing a bed with his 3-year-old brother under a pile of blankets in an attempt to stay warm, according to the lawsuit.
The sixth grader, who migrated to the United States two years ago with his family, was a healthy boy who on the day before his death was playing in the snow for the first time in his life, his mother, Maria Pineda, told the Houston Chronicle.
Maria Pineda found her son unresponsive the next day and called 911 while attempting CPR, according to the lawsuit.
While the Pineda family contends the child froze to death, the official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy, according to the Conroe Police Department.