Jun 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Texas governor signs bills overhauling state's power grid

Photo of Greg Abbott sitting between two people holding up bills he just signed

(Left to right) State Rep. Chris Paddie, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and State Sen. Kelly Hancock show off Senate Bills 2 and 3 during a press conference at the Capitol on June 8. Abbott signed the bills into law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and weatherize and improve the reliability of the state's power grid. Photo: Montinique Monroe via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law Tuesday a pair of bills aimed at improving the state's main power grid and reforming the agency that operates it.

Why it matters: The move comes months after a winter storm blew out Texas' power infrastructure and left over 4.8 million homes and businesses without power for days, per Texas Tribune. Calls to revamp the power infrastructure have grown since.

  • The state said that the February storm killed 151 people, though a BuzzFeed analysis estimated that at least 700 people died as a result of the storm.

Among other provisions, the legislation:

  • Requires power generator companies to prepare for extreme weather.
  • Mandates upgrades to power generators and transmission lines.
  • Instructs electricity providers to inform customers on how to register as "critical" to ensure households that require electricity for life-saving medical devices don't have their power cut.
  • Sets up an emergency alert system to warn Texans of weather emergencies and power outages.
  • Gives state politicians more influence over governance of ERCOT, the state's main grid operator.
  • Allows $6.5 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds for natural gas utilities and electric cooperatives in an effort to boost the state's energy market.

Worth noting: One of the new laws is more lenient toward natural gas fuel companies, the Tribune writes.

What he's saying: "Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas," Abbott tweeted after he signed the bills into law.

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