Austin, Texas – Governor Gregg Abbott recently signed Senate Bills 2 and 3 which aim to reform ERCOT and improve the Texas power grid’s ability to hold up against extreme weather.
“Under Senate Bills 2 and 3, Texas will now require the weatherization of power generation facilities, natural gas facilities, and transmission facilities to handle extreme weather,” the governor’s office said in a press release.
Weatherization refers to the practice of improving a facility’s protection from the elements to ensure their safety and stability during extreme weather events. The bills come as the state reacts to the disastrous effects of winter storm Uri, which left millions of Texans without power during the coldest parts of the storm.
Effective immediately, the Texas Railroad Commission and ERCOT are now required to inspect, maintain, and properly weatherize all energy facilities or face a fine of up to 1 million dollars. The bills will reform the leadership board of ERCOT, requiring that board members be residents of Texas and that 8 of the 11 members be independent of ERCOT. Additionally, communication channels will be improved to establish proper power management. The bills will also implement an extreme weather notification system that will send alerts to every Texan’s cell phone.
“During the winter storm, too many Texans were left without heat or power for days on end, and I immediately made reforming ERCOT and weatherizing the power system emergency items,” said Governor Abbott. “We promised not to leave session until we fixed these problems, and I am proud to say that we kept that promise. These laws will improve the reliability of the electric grid and help ensure these problems never happen again.”