North Texas State Senator To Refile Past Bill Calling For Threat Assessment Of Texas Electric Grid
Two years ago, Sen. Bob Hall, the Republican from Van Zandt County filed the legislation that passed the Senate, but died in the House.
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – State Senator Bob Hall said Tuesday, Feb. 23, he will refile a bill that would require the state to conduct a threat assessment of the Texas electric grid.
Two years ago, the Republican from Van Zandt County filed the legislation that passed the Senate, but died in the House.
He said he has been trying to get this measure passed since 2015.
It would have created a Grid Security Council, appointed by the Governor, to make initial recommendations to the legislature by November of last year on how to address potential threats facing the grid, including the weather, cyber, and sabotage.
Sen. Hall said, “We need to be aware of them and quit pretending like it’s going to always magically appear whenever we turn the switch on we’re going to have electricity. Electricity in today’s world is the third most important thing to sustaining life. The only two things more important are air and water. Even our water supply is threatened by not having electricity.”
He said it’s especially crucial after Bill Magness, the CEO of the state’s power grid operator, ERCOT, acknowledged last Thursday just how close the grid came to sustaining catastrophic blackouts. “It was seconds and minutes given the amount of generation that was coming off the system at the same time that demand was still going up.”
On Tuesday, Democratic State Representative Michelle Beckley agreed with Hall.
“This happened during session. So we need to fix it. Now. We need to start fixing so this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
Beckley is refiling another bill that failed years ago by then State Representative Sylvester Turner, now Houston’s Mayor, to have ERCOT boost the amount of power in reserve.
“It would require that we do the research and see how much backup power we need. Clearly, we need more than we had.”
After severe winter storms also left millions of Texans in the dark ten years ago, changes were proposed, but Beckley and Hall said not much was actually done.
Hall said action must be taken now.
“The buck stops here with the legislature. It is up to the legislature now to step up and give direction to the state agencies and to the power companies that failed to do their job.”