Multiple bills have been introduced to the Texas House of Representatives attempting to address perceived deficiencies highlighted by last month’s deep freeze and power outages in the state. The bills include:
HB 11 – Protecting Consumers and Hardening Facilities for Extreme Weather
This bill requires that the Texas power grid be weatherized against extreme weather emergencies. The bill defines an extreme weather emergency as a period when:
- The temperature didn’t exceed 10 degrees Fahrenheit the previous day and isn’t predicted to exceed that temperature for 24 more hours according to the National Weather Service, or;
- The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory.
Providers of generation in the ERCOT power region, as well as electric cooperatives, municipally owned utilities, and transmission and distribution utilities providing transmission or distribution service in the ERCOT power region, are required by the bill to:
- Prepare generation facilities to adequately provide power during extreme weather emergencies
- Make all reasonable efforts to prevent power outages during extreme weather emergencies
- Re-establish power as quickly as possible when it goes down during extreme weather emergencies
- Make reasonable efforts to manage emergencies caused by power outages during extreme weather events, including making sure employees know what to do in these events
HB 12 – Alerting Texans During Emergencies
This bill attempts to make sure Texans are alerted about impending extreme weather events, extended power outages, and other disasters by creating a statewide disaster alert system administered by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). The system is based off of the model used in Amber, Blue and Silver Alert systems.
The bill states that the system should be developed and implemented by TDEM with the cooperation of the governor, the public utility commission of Texas, and ERCOT.
The alerts, according to the bill, may include information needed to assist people affected by disasters in making informed safety decisions or enable people in other locations to assist affected people.
TDEM, according to the bill, should conduct a study on how effective existing alerts in the state are as well as how feasible it would be to establish a statewide disaster alert system.
HB 13 – Improving Coordination During Disasters
This bill creates a council consisting of Public Utility Commission of Texas, ERCOT, Railroad Commission and TDEM leaders. The council’s purpose will be to coordinate during disasters, prevent power outages, and identify issues with energy operations, repairs and fuel supplies.
The council, according to the bill, should implement emergency management procedures, coordinate fuel delivery to generators during disasters, and study and make recommendations on how to keep the power on during disasters.