EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – “I can guarantee the lights will stay on” in Texas this winter. Governor Greg Abbott making the promise to a local station in Austin, after he was asked for his thoughts on the power grid following a devastating winter storm back in February.

Governor Abbott pointing to almost a dozen laws he signed that he says makes the power grid more effective. The Governor asserting that he has personally talked to the Natural Gas Pipeline Transmitters and they are conducting winterization that most people do not know about. He also said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is taking steps to be proactive instead of reactive.

“I have talked to some of the natural gas pipeline transmitters, and they’ve also have been doing winterization that most people don’t know about. Most importantly is the approach ERCOT has taken this year, unlike last year. Last year they were reactive, and waited until a crisis mode before they summoned more power, more energy, now the way ERCOT works, is they work days in advance in summoning that power to make sure they will have enough power to keep the lights on.”

Governor Greg Abbott

In June Governor Abbott signed sweeping legislation into law requiring Power Generation facilities, Natural Gas facilities and Transmission facilities to be weatherized. ERCOT is required to inspect those facilities and violations can result in a penalty of up to one million dollars. The laws also created a state wide power outage alert system.

The office Governor Greg Abbott described two bills that were signed into law on their website,

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 Texas Railroad Commission and ERCOT will be required to inspect these facilities, and failure to weatherize these facilities can result in a penalty of up to one million dollars. These bills also create a “Power Outage Alert” where Texans will receive an emergency alert whenever the power supply in the state may be inadequate to meet demand. Additionally, this legislation establishes the Texas Energy Reliability Council to improve coordination between state agencies and industry during extreme weather emergencies and extended power outages. Finally, the legislation makes significant reforms to ERCOT, including having eight fully independent board members of the 11-member board, and requires board members to be residents of Texas. 

“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. Thank you to Senators Kelly Hancock and Charles Schwertner and Representative Chris Paddie for your leadership on these important issues.” 

The winter storm that pummeled the U.S. In early 2021, knocked out power to more than 4 million people in Texas.

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