Why was Primarily Primates less ready for the Texas freeze than a pizza parlor?
SAN ANTONIO, Texas––“After 4 days without power, we finally have electricity back at the sanctuary!” Primarily Primates posted on the morning of February 19, 2021.
“Due to the tenuous situation here in Texas,” the posting added, “we will be using generators throughout the day in case the power goes back off again.”
A hard freeze warning was in effect, but long-range weather forecasts for the San Antonio region suggested that the cold weather crisis afflicting much of Texas was close to an end.
Violet the chimp
For Primarily Primates, the week after Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2021, began with the death, attributed to stroke, of a 58-year-old female chimpanzee named Violet.
Violet, the oldest chimp at Primarily Primates, was named by sanctuary founder Wally Swett in honor of former San Francisco science teacher Violet Soo-Hoo, 1918-2008, widow of electrical engineer and philanthropist Carroll Soo-Hoo, 1914-1998.
Violet Soo-Hoo left much of her estate to Primarily Primates and Friends of Animals, the $5.8-million-a-year national animal charity of which Primarily Primates is a subsidiary.
Monkeys, lemurs & birds
Also found dead at Primarily Primates on the morning of February 15, 2021 were many smaller primates––monkeys and lemurs––and as yet untold numbers of birds.
The 43-year-old Primarily Primates sanctuary in Leon Spring, a northern suburb of San Antonio, was––like much of Texas and Oklahoma––hit by record cold weather and snowfall, leading to statewide electrical outages.
The electricity went out at Primarily Primates circa 6:00 a.m. on February 15, 2021, staff told media.
A blizzard of social media postings and media releases from Primarily Primates and Friends of Animals labored all week to keep the public focus––especially that of donors––on the “heroic” efforts of staff and volunteers to keep the remaining 300-plus animals at the sanctuary alive.
Among the survivors were 33 chimpanzees.
Saved 90%+ of animal roster
Indeed, about 60 volunteers and staff did manage to save more than 90% of the Primarily Primates animal roster.
The Primarily Primates volunteers and staff likely did much better than some Texas and Oklahoma ranchers, who reportedly lost as many as 20,000 cattle to a similar surprise blizzard in 2016.
The Primarily Primates volunteers and staff also almost certainly did better than some private exotic animal keepers, many of whom are notoriously ill-equipped to keep the animals in their care at the best of times.
But Primarily Primates and Friends of Animals appear to have lost far more animals to the harsh weather than any of the many other accredited zoos and sanctuaries in the greater San Antonio region, after repeatedly holding themselves up as an example of providing quality care.
“The safety of formerly exploited animals comes first”
In 2016, for example, Friends of Animals distributed a meme asserting that, “The difference between animals in a sanctuary and a zoo is that the safety of formerly exploited animals comes first at a sanctuary like our own Primarily Primates.”
During the week beginning on February 15, 2021, it was Primarily Primates that sent animals to the San Antonio Zoo for safekeeping, not the other way around, because it was the San Antonio Zoo that was properly prepared for the weather.
The White Star Line, after the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, likewise preferred to keep the public focus on the “heroic” efforts of Titanic captain Edward Smith and other Titanic officers. Smith went down with the ship, along with all the other senior officers, credited with first having helped to save the lives of the 710 survivors.
Primarily Primates & the Titanic
The White Star Line left the failures of foresight and disregard of warnings that brought the deaths of from 1,490 to 1,635 people in the Titanic sinking to independent investigators, including investigative reporters.
The exact numbers of the Titanic dead are unknown due to incomplete and inaccurate listings of passengers and crew. What is known is that most of the Titanic dead froze to death in the -2 degrees Celsius water into which they were immersed, before they could drown due to lack of even half enough lifeboats to save everyone.
Only five Titanic survivors were pulled aboard lifeboats after immersion.
Lack of long-range disaster planning
Comparing the relatively few Primarily Primates animal losses to the Titanic disaster should not be possible.
Yet, even in view of the multi-day magnitude and severity of the Texas cold snap and snowfall, there appears to be no reason for the deaths of the Primarily Primates animals other than lack of long-range disaster planning, over many years under the current management.
This was compounded by a lack of intensive short-term preparation over the Valentine’s Day weekend, for weather conditions which were in truth predicted and which other primate care facilities in the San Antonio area were equipped to address, experiencing without known primate losses.
Said Friends of Animals, in a prepared statement, “Our 78-acre sanctuary consists of more than 100 habitats/enclosures and five buildings—including offices, a staff house and a veterinary space. We have an emergency response plan for a normal disaster, which is why we were able to evacuate dozens and dozens of our primates to safety.”
Points to ponder
Please note that “78 acres with more than 100 habitats/enclosures and five buildings” is not at all large by American Zoo Association-accredited zoo standards, nor unusually large compared to many other sanctuaries, and certainly not large by farm standards.
Please note also the oxymoron “normal disaster.”
The word “disaster” is defined by the Google online dictionary as “a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources.”
If an event was “normal,” it would not be disastrous.
“Difficult to capture & transport”
Continued Friends of Animals, “Not all wild primates are thrilled about such an evacuation plan [as Primarily Primates had], and it can be difficult to capture them and transport them as quickly as the best laid plan, especially during an extended, deep Arctic freeze.”
Indeed. The difficulty of capturing and transporting primates is also characteristic of relocating practically all other animals, and is why animal care facilities of all sorts, including farms and laboratories as well as zoos and sanctuaries, are usually prepared to look after their animals on site in a crisis.
Repeated emergency evacuations of the Wildlife Waystation sanctuary in Little Tujunga Canyon, California, ahead of wildfires and floods, should have brought home to the animal sanctuary management community more than a decade ago the impracticality of relying on evacuation plans.
Time and again, many of the biggest and most dangerous Wildlife Waystation animals were left behind by evacuations, of necessity, and were saved only by the determined efforts of firefighters.
Just over the hill to the north, in Acton, California, the Shambala and DELTA Rescue sanctuaries had planned not to evacuate, though closer to major highways, and––with water reservoirs, their own fire engines, trained firefighting personnel, and even a helipad on their premises––saved themselves from even the 2009 Station Fire, one of the largest and most destructive in California history.
Evacuation plans are still usually considered sufficient for facilities keeping only dogs and cats, who can be caged and carried in ordinary passenger cars, if need be.
Evacuation plans are also still usually considered appropriate for facilities keeping horses and other herding animals, who can relatively quickly be put aboard tractor/trailer units built to accommodate their species.
Evacuation plans are no longer seen as best practice, however, for facilities keeping non-human primates, big cats and exotic cats, and other wildlife.
“Not about not being prepared,” says FoA
“This is not about not being prepared,” Friends of Animals asserted. “This is unprecedented, catastrophic weather for humans and non-human animals in Texas combined with rolling blackouts that have knocked millions off the power grid.
“Knowing chimpanzees are too difficult to transport,” Friends of Animals said, “we have propane heaters stockpiled. Propane heaters need fuel, though, and this impossible disaster in Texas has posed new challenges for obtaining fuel. We are currently going through at least 20 propane tanks per night.”
This, though, reflects an obsolescent approach to keeping animals warm in unexpectedly cold weather that confinement pig farmers, for example, abandoned decades ago, following the even earlier examples of hospitals and other longterm human care facilities.
Forty to fifty years ago most livestock farmers relied in severe weather on portable generators driven by the power takeoffs behind their tractors. These were sufficient to keep the lights on, keep milking and feeding machines running, and keep water lines from freezing, so long as the tractor fuel held out.
Most farms had, and still have, on site gasoline or diesel fuel storage tanks, typically refilled weekly by trucks that visit the farms.
Even then, at large farms that had to provide heating and ventilation for hundreds of animals, stationary diesel generators had replaced power takeoff-driven generators.
Stationary diesel generators in the same time frame also came to be standard emergency equipment at schools, shopping centers, gas stations, and supermarkets: anywhere with a need to keep pumps, heating, and/or refrigeration units running. A tank of diesel could keep the facilities going for many days, if need be, and prevent infrastructure damage too.
Stationary propane generators began displacing the market for diesel generators circa 2000.
Farmers still debate whether diesel or propane is the better backup system to have, but stationary propane generators have meanwhile become the norm not only for powering farms and businesses through emergencies, but also for providing backup electricity to up-scale homes, with tanks often big enough to keep the generators running for a week or more.
Such technology is not yet within economical reach of most homeowners.
Stationary generators during the week of February 15, 2021 did, however, keep at at least one gas station open in Leon Spring, and even kept a local pizza parlor open for delivery, according to Facebook ads.
The amount of heat needed to run a pizza oven, properly distributed, probably could have kept the Primarily Primates animals warm.
But Primarily Primates did not have a stationary generator.
“No, we did not have commercial-grade generators”
“To be clear,” Friends of Animals admitted, 48 hours after ANIMALS 24-7 asked why Primarily Primates did not have pre-installed generating capacity sufficient to keep the animals alive, “we have never lost power for any significant amount of time, and have never experienced rolling blackouts multiple days without power. So no, we did not have commercial-grade generators to power all of the buildings, enclosures and heated bedrooms on our 78-acre property.”
Yet Primarily Primates has reportedly experienced previous multi-day electricity outages, most recently during Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.
Hurricane Harvey of course hit near the heat of the summer. But Primarily Primates has also endured previous extreme cold events, appealing repeatedly under both founder Wally Swett’s management and under the post-2008 management of Friends of Animals for help to repair frozen pipes.
Note: Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral has also acknowledged extensive damage due to frozen pipes during the week of February 15, 2021.
The major cause of frozen pipes is not freezing weather, but rather lack of properly insulated pipes, which may also be wrapped with heat tape for emergency use as needed.
Heat tapes can be run off of car batteries if necessary. Farm people north of the snowbelt usually grow up knowing how.
KSAT-TV San Antonio “weather authority” Justin Horne, with the help of meteorologists Kaiti Blake and Sarah Spivey, beginning at 6:12 a.m. on Saturday, February 13, 2021, broadcast and posted online a seven-day weather forecast warning of sub-freezing temperatures over the next several days, with 84% humidity and a 39% chance of precipitation.
Translation: freezing rain and snow were very likely, conditions which also often bring electrical failures, especially in regions where freezing rain and snow are unusual and the electrical grid is therefore not built to withstand as much as farther north.
In Connecticut, where Friends of Animals is headquartered, the weather conditions that knocked the San Antonio electrical grid offline would have only been normal for a mid-winter storm.
Peanut butter & jelly
“I never, ever thought my office would turn into a morgue, but it has,” Primarily Primates executive director Brooke Chavez told the San Antonio Express-News.
Summarized CNN reporters Maria Morava and Scottie Andrew, “After the power went out early Monday, Chavez and her team of 12 sprung to action. They began gathering generators, space heaters, propane tanks and blankets to keep their 400 animals warm, the San Antonio Express-News reported.”
This contradicted the Friends of Animals statement indicating that all the needed supplies and equipment were already on site––and contradicted, as well, frequent appeals from both Primarily Primates and Friends of Animals for additional generators, propane supplies, blankets, and food, including peanut butter and jelly.
Home propane heating systems store more gas than Primarily Primates had on hand
Indeed, a crisis is a significant opportunity for almost any nonprofit organization to solicit donations, both of cash and of material needs. But was Primarily Primates merely replenishing supplies as stockpiled reserves were used, or was it understocked to begin with?
Photographs posted by Friends of Animals of dozens of five-gallon propane tanks suggest that Primarily Primates did not have enough propane on hand to heat even a typical 1,000-square-foot house for a few days. A home propane heating system, depending on climate, may store anywhere from 120 to 500 gallons of propane at a time, to last for three to six months.
“As temperatures plummeted further, the plan moved from preservation to evacuation,” Morava and Andrews of CNN continued.
“Having to decide who we can save”
“I’ve never faced a decision like this,” Chavez said. “Having to decide who we can save, depending on the predictability of which animals we can catch.”
Translation: the Titanic hit the iceberg, without enough lifeboats.
Added Morava and Andrews, “It was while mobilizing for transport that the team began to find dead animals.
“Someone asked me how many animals have died. I don’t know yet,” Chavez said, sounding more like the White Star Line spokespersons on April 15, 1912 than she realized.
“I know we lost lots of monkeys, lemurs and tropical birds,” Chavez admitted.
Resumed Morava and Andrews, “Chavez confirmed that the sanctuary will not know how many of the animals have died until the snow starts to melt and the weather improves.”
Disaster plans required
Weather disasters happen, and have been happening with ever-increasing frequency in recent decades due to global warming, which has brought more severe weather extremes at both the hot and cold ends of the seasonal weather cycle.
Primarily Primates is accredited by the American Sanctuary Association, which founder Wally Swett was involved in starting, and from 2011 to 2016 was also accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
“The accreditation for this sanctuary with Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries was suspended and then subsequently expired, in December 2016,” GFAS executive director Valerie Taylor told ANIMALS 24-7 on February 23, 2021.
Every animal sanctuary accredited by either organization, or The Association of Sanctuaries, the oldest animal sanctuary-accrediting body, founded in 1992, is supposed to have a disaster plan.
So are all zoos accredited by the American Zoo Association, and all laboratories accredited by the Association for Assessment & Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.
Lesson from Hurricane Hugo
In short, disaster plans are required of every institution of any sort that routinely houses non-human primates, most of whom are native to much warmer climates than any part of the U.S., and accordingly tend to need more heat than ambient outdoor temperatures provide for most of each year.
Planning for adequate emergency generating capacity in event of a prolonged power loss has accordingly been a central part of primate care planning at least since Hurricane Hugo in September 1989, which hit the International Primate Protection League gibbon sanctuary in Summerville, South Carolina, especially hard.
The International Primate Protection League weathered many days without electricity, but did not suffer gibbon deaths.
While heating was not an issue in the South Carolina climate, pumping water, storing food, and maintaining communications all were.
Hurricane Andrew in 1992, sweeping the length of Florida, reinforced the lessons of Hurricane Hugo, as did Hurricane Katrina, devastating the entire Gulf Coast region in 2005.
Primarily Primates, as well as experiencing many electrical outages itself over the years, was historically well aware of the experience of other primate care facilities, including nearby.
Indeed, founder Wally Swett, gone since 2006, often called ANIMALS 24-7 in part to discuss disaster planning and responses.
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation
One facility Swett was particularly aware of, and maintained a keen rivalry with, was Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Inc., of Bourne, Texas, a 212-acre facility founded in 1977, just 10 miles north of Primarily Primates.
Founder Lynn Cuny was also a cofounder of The Association of Sanctuaries.
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation has nearly twice as many animals as Primarily Primates, including lemurs, spider monkeys, macaques, and marmosets, all in the size range of some of the animals who died at Primarily Primates.
Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation raises a budget of about $3 million a year entirely independently, without the patronage of any national organization.
“We installed propane heaters in 2000”
“Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation is doing fine,” Cuny told ANIMALS 24-7. “We installed propane heaters back in 2000 when we began building what was then our new sanctuary, as we did not want to have to worry about power outages. Our propane heaters are doing their job, so that has been one positive.
“But that is not to say that the extreme temperatures are not difficult for the non-native animals and even some of the native species, as these are not normal conditions for this region,” Cuny specified.
“We are feeding the farmed animals considerable amounts of hay and alfalfa, as well as protein pellets, and we are feeding nuts, dried fruits and seeds to primates, birds and others. Produce just freezes,” Cuny mentioned, “so is not to be relied on.”
Born Free Primate Sanctuary
The 175-acre Born Free Primate Sanctuary, in Dilley, Texas, begun in 1972 as the South Texas Primate Observatory, also apparently survived the February 2021 cold snap without animal losses, despite losing a $6,500 water pump.
“As of the last I heard, which was yesterday,” Born Free Foundation special projects director Barry Kent MacKay told ANIMALS 24-7 from his home in Ontario, Canada, “all the animals were okay. I’m not too worried about the Japanese macaques [also called snow monkeys], for obvious reasons, but there are more tropical species there and that does worry me.
“I know that they had some issues with frozen pipes,” MacKay said, “but that’s hardly surprising. I do know that the animals have food and water, although ice had to be broken open.”
By the morning of February 19, 2021, the Born Free Primate Sanctuary plumbing issues were fixed, the sanctuary posted to Facebook.
Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary
The Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary, 450 miles north of Primarily Primates in Newcastle, Oklahoma, also experienced a week of sub-freezing weather and snow.
Founded by Linda Barkley in 1998 as the Mindy’s Memory Primate Sanctuary, named for an aged rhesus macaque Barkley had adopted in 1993, the independently funded Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary houses approximately 80 nonhuman primates on just 12.5 acres.
“Though everyone is safe,” the sanctuary management posted to Facebook, “we are going through supplies that should have lasted months and our electric and propane bills will far exceed what we usually spend.”
Ingersoll bought generator
Said Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary advisory board member Robert Ingersoll, “We installed [the Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary] generator in 2012 with money I was paid for Project Nim [see Ape learning experiments? When will humans ever learn?], or more accurately for historical footage in the film that I own the rights to.
“No question this should not have happened at Primarily Primates,” Ingersoll acknowledged, “and when this is over I think there will be changes.”
“Wally had generators for critical areas”
Recalled American Sanctuary Associate director Vernon Weir, “Wally used to tell me that because San Antonio is located in the southern part of the state, it never got that cold there. But I believe he had generators to provide power in critical areas when they were needed. And a lot has happened to our weather patterns all over the world since then. I don’t think the Born Free Primate Sanctuary, Wild Animal Orphanage, or Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation had any special concerns about extended hard freezing either. At least that’s what I recall.
“I agree with the need for backup generators, even if you are located in southern Florida,” Weir added. “Looks like this is something we need to think more about. We require that every sanctuary have a disaster plan. That usually involves natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, fire, earthquakes, etc. This was so unexpected. However, had anybody thought about it I think it would have been easy to fix.
“Adequate disaster planning was suggested”
“I have no written disaster plan for Primarily Primates,” Weir admitted. “When we re-accredited them in 2008, adequate disaster planning was suggested to all of our sanctuary members, but we didn’t follow up to get a written sanctuary statement.
“Unfortunately tragedies like this point out our own fault of not emphasizing this enough,” Weir said. “And now we have an entire new category of disaster preparedness to address that never crossed my mind, the loss of power over a lengthy period of time.”
Why this never crossed Weir’s mind is unclear, since a multi-day loss of electricity was a major cause of animal losses at those zoos and sanctuaries that were not prepared for it, after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and after many other weather disasters in between and afterward.
“Besides the loss of heat,” Weir suggested, “a loss of power can impact other necessary functions that might involve feeding and watering, electric fencing, security, and other things that are important to the daily function of the sanctuary.”
National Anti-Vivisection Society
The Chicago-based National Anti-Vivisection Society, a Primarily Primates funder for more than 30 years, said it would help to fund “purchasing essential equipment and provisions for the animals, including lights and blankets; providing generators, propane tanks and other portable power sources needed to keep the animals who cannot be moved alive in the sub-freezing temperatures; and assisting Primarily Primates with further unanticipated costs associated with this tragedy.”
The National Anti-Vivisection Society, headquartered in an area that gets severe winters and has had three major blackouts within the past decade, did not mention why it had not funded preparation to prevent such an emergency.
“Astounding lack of kindness or empathy”
Accusing ANIMALS 24-7 of a “notable, astounding lack of kindness or empathy,” and an “obvious lack of knowledge about the weather event in Texas,” Friends of Animals spokesperson Nicole Rivard forwarded a clipping from the Washington Post that we had already seen.
Said the Washington Post clip, “Blackouts triggered by frigid weather have spread to more than four million homes and businesses across the central U.S. and extended into Mexico in a deepening energy crisis that’s already crippled the Texas power grid.
“After millions in Texas lost electricity, the operator of the grid spanning 14 states from North Dakota to Oklahoma ordered utilities to start rotating outages to protect the system from failing amid surging demand for electricity.”
But the clipping said nothing about why Primarily Primates was not at least as well prepared to “go to plan B” as a local pizza parlor.
“We pay $10,000 a month”
“Primarily Primates was prepared for a normal disaster,” Rivard reiterated, “not this impossible disaster that Texas is enduring for this length of time because the state of Texas itself was not prepared. We pay $10,000 a month in electricity bills during the coldest months to protect our animals,” Rivard said, “and we find it unbelievable that that is not enough to provide us with electricity when we need it the most.
“Also propane heaters and generators need fuel to run in case you didn’t know that,” Rivard said. “They don’t just automatically miraculously run until the power comes back on.”
Which is exactly why Primarily Primates should have had at least the propane storage capacity of the average manufactured home that heats with propane.
“We will be fundraising”
“Moving forward,” Rivard said, “we will be fundraising for the tens of thousands of dollars it will cost our non-profit to install more permanent generators where we can, across the property, having learned we cannot count on the Texas power grid.”
According to data posted by Generac, the major U.S. manufacturer and distributor of installed propane generators, Primarily Primates could have adequate emergency generating capacity for about a third of Priscilla Feral’s $125,000 annual salary, or the equivalent of Brooke Chavez’s $43,000 annual salary: relatively small amounts relative to the total annual budget of either Primarily Primates or Friends of Animals.
ANIMALS 24-7 forwarded to Rivard a link to the Generac online catalog.
Brooke Chavez, founder and for 12 years director of the Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in La Coste, Texas, was named executive director of Primarily Primates on February 4, 2014. She succeeded Stephen Tello, who had been on a two-month medical leave.
Tello died from a brain aneurism in April 2018. For nearly 20 years the partner of Primarily Primates founder Wally Swett, who started the sanctuary in 1978, Tello had headed Primarily Primates since it became an affiliate of Friends of Animals in 2007.
An October 2006 hostile takeover directed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] forced Swett out of Primarily Primates, amid financial difficulties and allegations that too many animals were kept there.
Swett, frequently clashing with PETA, had fended off at least two other PETA-backed hostile takeover attempts since 1991.
Swett in particular had openly criticized PETA for closing the sanctuary it formerly operated at Aspen Hill, Maryland, killing many of the animals.
Swett also criticized PETA legal actions against the National Institutes of Health that kept the agency from releasing several macaques to Primarily Primates for retirement.
Primarily Primates was seized from Swett by the Texas Office of Attorney General and put into receivership, based largely on allegations from former staff forwarded to then-Texas assistant attorney general John Vinson by PETA counsel for research and investigations Leona Stormont.
The Theisen-Watt regency
Swett, however, was never actually charged with any animal-related offense, and was absolved from all claims made against his management as part of the handover of Primarily Primates to Friends of Animals.
From October 15, 2006 until May 1, 2007, when Friends of Animals won control of Primarily Primates through extensive litigation, Primarily Primates was managed by court-appointed receiver Lee Theisen-Watt and a variety of PETA staff and volunteers.
Theisen-Watt almost immediately transferred about 200 animals to other sanctuaries, including the flocks of pea fowl, ducks, and chickens that Swett had used in lieu of pesticides to control insects around the primate housing.
Tello told ANIMALS 24-7 that the Theisen-Watt team also scattered hay on the floors of the primate housing and made critical mistakes in choices of treats and toys given to the chimps, in particular, that resulted in messes which required moving the chimps to clean up.
Removing the hay from the cages and disposing of it safely, Tello said, became one of his biggest management headaches, since the hay––without the pea fowl, ducks, and chickens to police the facilities––had incubated tens of thousands of biting flies.
In addition, Tello said, several of the water systems serving different parts of Primarily Primates had been dismantled during the receivership, along with the holding cages used to temporarily house incoming animals, while routine maintenance of permanent facilities was neglected.
Friends of Animals, over the next several years, invested more than a million dollars in infrastructure improvements to Primarily Primates, including adding a wind turbine in 2008 to try to reduce electricity costs.
IRS Form 990 filings indicate that Friends of Animals has at least twice since then invested upward of $830,000 in further infrastructure upgrades.
Texas has had six blackouts afflicting at least 100,000 homes, several hitting more than a million homes, in the time Friends of Animals has operated Primarily Primates.
But apparently the Primarily Primates infrastructure upgrades did not include preparation for prolonged electricity outages.