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Thursday, February 22, 2024

How the extreme heat is taking a toll on Texas businesses

Dallas — At Kate Weiser Chocolate outside of Dallas, Texas, triple-digit heat means a meltdown.

“Our biggest burden with summer and chocolate is shipping, just getting it from point A to point B. How do we keep it safe?” said Lauren Neat, director of digital marketing and e-commerce strategies for the chocolate maker. “How do we keep it cold enough?” (I’ll double-check all quotes)

Neat said they considered shutting down their shipping operation, that is until they experimented with new packaging that includes flat ice sheets that can take the heat.

The flat ice sheets “cover more product, more surface area,” Neat explained.

It turned out to be key to ensuring customers don’t receive a melted mess. It was a way to protect both the product and the company’s bottom line.

“It can really impact just how much we lose money,” Neat said. “Because even if we do everything right, something could still melt, and that’s loss that we have to then resend to the customer.”

According to an August survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 23.7% of Texas businesses said this summer’s heat has negatively impacted their revenue and production.

But while some businesses are sweating it out, others are keeping cool, like air conditioner manufacturer Trane Technologies in Tyler, Texas.

Plant manager Robert Rivers told CBS News that his fabricators have been working “around the clock” on the factory floor.

Rivers said summer is always the busiest season for its 2,100 workers. But this year’s high temperatures brought even more business.

“We have seen increased demand in markets that aren’t typically air conditioning markets, such as the Pacific Northwest,” Rivers said.

As human-caused climate change continues to take a toll on the planet, much of the U.S. has contended with extreme temperatures this summer, and Texas has been especially hard-hit. Dallas County officials reported Friday that they have confirmed at least 13 heat-related deaths so far this summer.

On Wednesday, bitcoin mining company Riot Platforms said that it was paid $31.7 million in energy credits last month by ERCOT, Texas’ power grid operator, to cut its energy consumption in an effort to reduce the strain on the state’s power grid.

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