AUSTIN, Texas — Months after the failure of the Texas power grid, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law two bills that aim to address the issues and subsequent fall-out from the winter storm.
On Tuesday, June 8, the governor signed Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3. He was joined by Sens. Kelly Hancock and Charles Schwertner and Rep. Chris Paddie.
"A top priority that we had this legislative session was to fix the power grid ... to prevent any power grid failure in the future," Abbott said. "The legislature passed comprehensive reforms to fix all of the flaws that led to the power failure."
SB 2 looks to reform ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. It reduces the number of board members of ERCOT from 16 to 11. It also states that Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan will appoint a committee to select ERCOT board members. Previously, lawmakers said "industry leaders" were appointing members to the board.
SB 3 is all about weatherizing the power grid. Under the law, power companies, along with some natural gas companies, will be required to upgrade their facilities so they can withstand extreme weather. Texas likely won't require companies to make these upgrades until 2022, The Texas Tribune reported.
Abbott said there is now greater accountability in the system than ever before with the passage of SB 2 and SB 3.
SB 3 will also require regulators to create an emergency alert system, similar to an Amber Alert, when power outages and inclement weather is imminent.
According to The Texas Tribune, while lawmakers took significant steps toward preventing another blackout, hardly any of the proposals passed during this legislative session will aid consumers in recovering from the February storm — but they’ll see higher utility bills.
After the winter storm in February left millions without power for days, there’s a new report warning Texas is at an “elevated risk” of energy emergencies this summer.
Abbott said Tuesday that the State is fully prepared to ensure that the power grid is stable during the summer and the winter. Officials said the reserve capacity is in a "much different today than it was [in February]."
KVUE's Brad Streicher asked Abbott whether he feels the State provided a sufficient amount of ERCOT-related records to the media as a result of Public Information Act requests.
"I have no way of knowing what as been received by press through Public Information Act requests," Abbott said. "What I can tell you is ... anything that the media wants to ask, you have the right to ask right now, which is why we wanted to make sure you had the opportunity to ask the leaders of the power grid reform whatever requests you may have."
KVUE Defenders: Texas at 'elevated risk' of energy shortages this summer
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