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Abbott signs bills to ‘fix the power grid in Texas’

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Gov. Greg Abbott signed two bills into law on June 8 to ensure the Texas power grid is more adequately equipped to handle extreme weather.

Senate Bill 2 reduces the number of seats on the state’s power grid operator ERCOT board to 11, instead of 16, and requires that members be Texas residents, and be chosen by an outside consulting firm. Senate Bill 3 requires power generation companies to weatherize or face penalties of up to $1 million. The legislation also calls for the creation of a power outage alert system, disaster preparedness educational materials for state agencies and the public, and the establishment of the Texas Energy Reliability Council to enhance coordination between Texas energy and electric industries.

“Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas,” Abbott wrote in June 8 Twitter post.

Sponsors of the ERCOT reform bill include Sen. Kelly Hancock and Rep. Chris Paddie while Sen. Charles Schwertner is among the sponsors of the weather emergency preparedness bill.

“Thanks @KHancock4TX, @DrSchwertner and @chrispaddie for your leadership on these issues,” Abbott tweeted.

Abbott expressed his commitment to ensure the reliability of the state’s power infrastructure during a televised address on Feb. 24.

“I have made it a legislative priority to mandate and to fund the winterization of the Texas power infrastructure,” Abbott said in his speech. “This will protect our power grid from future winter weather events.”

Abbott’s speech and the pair of Senate bills, which look to overhaul Texas’s grid, resulted from February’s winter storm.

The massive power outages caused by the unprecedented winter event, which killed more than 150 people, triggered calls for action.

The power outages affected more than 4.8 million homes and businesses.

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