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Public Utility Commission of Texas looks to Phase 2 of electricity market reforms

On Thursday, Dec. 16, the agency in charge of regulating power will discuss ways they want to revamp the power grid.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Thursday, Dec. 16, the agency in charge of regulating power will look at more ways they want to improve power grid reliability.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) will propose its Phase 2 of electricity market reforms. This comes in response to the deadly winter storms in February.

The commission has made changes for this winter season during Phase 1. Texas energy prices fluctuate off market conditions. If more people need more power, the energy generators can charge more for its supply, such as natural gas, wind, coal and solar.

The PUC lowered the maximum amount that the State will allow generators to sell at during an emergency, aimed to reduce the burden on consumers. The commission also set winterization standards for power companies.

In Phase 2, it will take more time.

The commissioners want to make more changes including energy efficiency standards and available power resources in times of need.

Advanced Power Alliance held a media briefing about the upcoming meeting.

“Complicated systems fail in complicated ways, and they owe it to the world's ninth largest economy to take a deep breath and start committing to serious, thoughtful, extraordinarily integrative and comprehensive analysis to help us understand where we go next,” Alison Silverstein, former Texas PUC and FERC senior advisor, energy consultant, author and strategist, said.

“Consumers have had such a big stake, not only in the direct impact — the health and wellbeing impact — but the State economically had such a hit from what failed in February that we really need to make sure that each of these proposals are thought, that the public's voice is adequately heard,” Tim Morstad, associate state director of AARP Texas, said.

You can watch all PUC meetings online at the PUC website.

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