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Vianna Davila is a reporter with the ProPublica/Texas Tribune investigative unit. Previously, she was the editor of The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless initiative, which examines the causes and effects of homelessness in the Seattle region. She began with the project in 2017 as a reporter, before becoming editor in 2019. Her work with the team was recognized by the Solutions Journalism Network as some of the best solutions reporting of 2018. She previously reported for the San Antonio Express-News, where over 13 years she produced stories on city politics, regional transportation and criminal justice. Her six-part project “The Next Million” explored gentrification, affordable housing, changing demographics and other urban issues in San Antonio, winning the Best of the West 2017 Journalism Contest for online presentation. She graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in English and master’s of journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, with a specialty in documentary film. Her master’s thesis film, “In His Blood,” about the lives of overnight television news videographers, was named the best documentary short at the 2009 San Antonio Film Festival. She has previously taught journalism at the University of Washington, Texas State University and Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She is a San Antonio native and a 10th-generation Texan.

Featured Article

Jacob Duran cooked his meals outside last week after his apartment lost power in Southeast Austin.

This story was originally published by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica.

In January 2014, power plants owned by Texas’ largest electricity producer buckled under frigid temperatures. Its generators failed more than a dozen times in 12 hours, helping to bring the state’s electric grid to the brink of collapse.

The incident was the second in three years for North Texas-based Luminant, whose equipment malfunctions during a more severe storm in 2011 resulted in a $750,000 fine from state energy regulators for failing to deliver promised power to the grid.

In the earlier cold snap, the grid was pushed to the limit and rolling blackouts swept the state, spurring an angry legislature to order a study of what went wrong.

Experts hired by the Texas Public Utility Commission, which oversees the state’s electric and water utilities, concluded that power-generating companies like Luminant had failed to understand the “critical failure points” that could cause equipment to stop working in cold weather.

In May 2014, the PUC sought changes that would require energy companies to identify and address all potential failure points, including any effects of “weath... Read more