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PUC adopts more rules for power companies prepping for extreme weather

Starting next year, power generators and transmission companies will have to consider temperature standards for 10 different areas across Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — Companies involved with making and transporting electricity in Texas will have more rules to follow when preparing for extreme temperatures.

Power generators and transmission entities will need to consider certain minimum and maximum temperatures in their winter and summer preparations. Companies must also consider and prepare for wind chill in their areas of operation.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will set those temperature standards for 10 different areas across the state.

RELATED: Here's how home backup batteries could help the power grid

Commissioners with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) adopted the changes Thursday in a public meeting.

This stems from the deadly February 2021 winter storm when at least 246 people died. At the time, ERCOT cut power to millions because the electric grid could not handle the demand.

The natural gas supply dropped as wellheads froze, wind turbines stopped due to snow and ice buildup and power plants' equipment failed to operate in the extreme cold.

Temperatures remained in the single digits for days.

RELATED: How far the Texas power grid has come after the deadly February 2021 storm

Following the storm, the PUC told companies to upgrade equipment to include winter weatherization such as heat tracing, insulation and windbreaks.

The KVUE Defenders reported that many companies may still not be ready to handle another extreme winter weather emergency.

PUC commissioners hired Ascenttra Inc. to review and analyze nearly 700 emergency operations plans (EOP). The EOPs filed came from electric utilities, power generation companies, municipally-owned utilities, electric cooperatives and retail electric providers.

RELATED: Your power provider may still not be ready for another extreme weather emergency

Ascenttra analyzed the information on a 10-point scale. The average score for EOP content was 7.33. Only 23% of the EOPs included drill procedures with "sufficient details," the report showed.

The new rules approved by the PUC on Thursday will not go into effect for this winter season. They will start for summer 2023 weather emergency operation plans.

Erica Proffer on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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