Since the deadly winter storm that hit the state in February that caused catastrophic power outages, water contamination and over a hundred deaths, Texas lawmakers have sought to address the major issues. Legislation that has advanced through the state Senate includes an overhaul of the ERCOT board, mandated winterization and ban on risky indexed retail electric plans.
Senate Bill 3, filed by Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner, would require all power generators, transmission lines, natural gas facilities and pipelines to make upgrades for extreme weather – a process known as weatherization.
“There were a multitude of failures,” Schwertner said from the Senate floor, referring to the massive power outages during the deadly winter storm. “And we’re fixing the problems.”
In the wake of the winter storm, attempts made by prominent Republicans to shift blame onto renewable energy sources were swiftly rebuked. Schwertner’s bill has been similarly criticized for penalizing renewable energy industries and prioritizing oil and gas interests by shifting the financial burden of ancillary services from electric providers to renewable energy providers. Corporations—including Amazon, Google and JP Morgan—have voiced their opposition to the provision.
Senate Bill 2 is another piece of legislation moving through the Texas Legislature. If passed, the bill would introduce requirements for the board of directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The legislation would require ERCOT’s chairman and board members to live in Texas, limit the number of board members affiliated with electric generators and require major procedural changes to be reviewed by the Public Utility Commission PUC.