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Millions of Texans lose power after historic winter storm hits U.S.

Millions of people lost power after a brutal winter storm hit Texas. Yahoo Finance’s Julie Hyman, Myles Upland and Brian Sozzi break down the latest developments.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: I do want to stick with the Texas conversation for just a moment though because of the ripple effect it's having not just across Texas but across the energy system. There was a winter storm that hit Texas and a lot of the southeastern US as well. At last check, more than 4 million people in Texas alone were still without power.

And it's that question that has really now sparked this big debate about how the power system is structured in Texas, where it gets about 25% of its power from wind turbines, some of which are not operational because of ice. But it's also a non-regulated energy grid system, as it is here in the Northeast. There's not sort of guaranteed purchased power supply.

So there are a lot of different crosscurrents going on here. We've seen a spike in natural gas prices as a result of what's happening there as well and trouble getting that supply down to Texas, where it's needed. So guys, when we look at the situation here, Myles, and we look at what could go wrong, we know we're going to expect more weather events, whatever they may be, because of climate change. The US doesn't seem quite ready for it.

MYLES UDLAND: Well, yeah. I mean, I do think that as we sort of roll forward here over the next couple of decades, it's probably going to take several of these types of storms to stack up one after the other to start really encouraging or forcing the kinds of changes that, certainly, folks who are without power right now and probably, unfortunately, not able to watch us down in many parts of Texas, are experiencing.

And I think that the whole climate discussion around how it impacts business-- if you have a storm like this once every 10 years-- and it's been more than 10 years since Texas has had a storm like this-- you're not really going to see a lot of durable movement on how the business community, how the government wants to respond to that. I think the argument around climate is that these storms are going to start stacking up where it happens every year, you see a storm like this.

And so I think, unfortunately, kind of the more forceful arguments on how climate change will impact business and the economy, they would say, well, that day is coming. And I think that the folks in power right now would probably say, well, we'll just deal with this one. And we'll bear down. And we'll get through it.

So I'm not sure that this specific storm is going to result in any kinds of changes. But it certainly, kind of as you outlined there, Julie, exposes many of the vulnerabilities within the existing system. But if it breaks once every 10 years, then that's probably not really enough to start seeing things change.

BRIAN SOZZI: And Julie, really, I think you asked really a key question to AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. Have you seen any impact in your operations right now, anything on the quarter? He says, no. But I think that type of question is one all investors should be looking out for in the companies that they own a share in right now, especially of stocks trading at record highs. This could be that unexpected event that hits this quarter's earnings.

I also want to real quickly mention, to that point, Generac shares up about 8% right now on expectations, I'm sure, of more generator sales. I know the CEO will be on with us a little later on today.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah. Good flag there, Sozzi. And you add the Texas situation to what we've seen on a more regular basis in places like California or Louisiana, for example, and maybe that collectively, we'll see more of a push for change.