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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The blackouts in Texas are a real possibility in Colorado.

What they're saying: Much like Texas, the Colorado grid is managed by a handful of utility companies and needs to be better connected to its neighbors in the event of a major blow, state Sen. Chris Hansen (D-Denver) tells Axios.

"I think Colorado is in danger of something similar happening because we have a relatively islanded grid," said Hansen, who doubles as the director of the nonprofit Colorado Energy and Water Institute.

Hansen and Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) are behind new legislation to push utilities to build transmission corridors and create a commission to oversee the fortification of the grid.

The other side: The same storm that hit Texas led utilities to ask Colorado residents to conserve energy. But experts and utilities companies here have offered repeated assurances that they are prepared and moving toward regional power solutions.

  • A 2019 law required Colorado's Public Utilities Commission to hire an outside firm to study the issue and how it would benefit rate payers and power generators. The report is expected in May.

The bottom line: A regional power network would mean Colorado utilities need to generate smaller energy reserves, saving money for ratepayers — but the build-out could be costly.

Go deeper

Sen. Tina Smith calls for probe into natural gas price hikes during winter storms

Sen. Tina Smith arrives in the US Capitol on the first day of Trump's second impeachment on Feb. 9, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) is calling for federal investigations into possible price gouging of natural gas in areas afflicted by the severe winter storms that have caused power outages in Texas and other large swaths of the country.

Why it matters: In a letter to regulators sent Saturday, Smith said spot prices for natural gas increased by over 100 times their typical levels, raising utility costs for people in the affected areas.

Texas officials launch inquiry into winter storm energy bills spike

A neighborhood in Waco, Texas, amid power outages over the state on Feb. 17. Photo by Matthew Busch /AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Texas announced Saturday investigations into the causes of the state's widespread power outages and an energy bills spike following the state's winter storms.

Why it matters: Millions of Texans lost power and water during last week's storms. In the aftermath, wholesale power prices rose from roughly $50 per megawatt hour to $9,000, WFAA reports — noting some Texans faced bills of up to $17,000 so far this month.

AOC raises $5 million for Texas relief fund

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a November news conference. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) announced Sunday night that her fundraising efforts for a Texas relief fund "just hit $5 million."

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez launched the fundraiser last Thursday, as Texas was gripped by a deadly winter weather emergency that saw millions of people Texans lose power and water.