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Greg Abbott signs laws to update the power grid after a deadly winter storm


Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed two billsso on Tuesday with the aim of strengthening the state power grid after the deadly winter storm in February.

“Too many Texans were without heating and electricity for days during the winter storm and I reformed immediately” [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] We promised not to leave the meeting until we resolved these issues and I am proud that we kept that promise. “

Senate Act 3, according to FOX 4 in Dallas, requires weathering of power generation, natural gas, and transmission equipment to cope with extreme weather conditions with fines of up to $ 1 million.

According to Senate Bill 2, the Texas Energy Reliability Council must improve communications between government agencies and industry during storms. The bill also “significantly” reforms ERCOT, including 8 fully independent members of the 11-member board.

State politicians will play a bigger role in deciding who sits on the board, which, according to the FOX, will decrease 4 out of 16 members.

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“I’m very proud of the legislature and what we’ve done in a very short time to make sure the lights stay on when they stay on,” said State Senator Charles Schwertner, a Republican on FOX 4.

Some experts said the legislation is a good place to start, but it is not enough.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference signing two energy laws in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.  Abbot signed law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to weather and improve the reliability of the state's electrical grid.  (AP Photo / Eric Gay)

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference signing two energy laws in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Abbot signed law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to weather and improve the reliability of the state’s electrical grid. (AP Photo / Eric Gay)

Daniel Cohan, a professor at Rice University, told FOX 4 that the state could potentially face days of power outages in the future.

He said the three keys are “addressing supply, addressing demand, and addressing the transmission that moves electricity between them. This bill only really dealt with the supply piece and did not go far enough to ensure that the supply was fully protected from extreme events.

At least 150 people died after nearly 5 million households and businesses lost electricity for days in February.

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The weathering required could cost billions, experts say, and the bills aren’t related to funding. Weathering will not be necessary until 2022.

“At some point we’ll pay for it,” UT Austin energy professor Michael Webber told the broadcaster. “It matters very much whether the taxpayers or taxpayers are in the details, but the system will pay for it. When California had its energy crisis in 2000-2001, it took them 20 years to pay off the debt.”

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