FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/01/2021
Critical Infrastructure and Electric Grid Reform Bills Co-Authored by State Representative Eddie Morales Pass the House
Austin, TX -- Today, 6 House Bills, co-authored by State Representative Eddie Morales were passed on final reading on the Floor of the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 10 will reform ERCOT and boost accountability by ensuring ERCOT board members have a personal stake in the success of Texas' electricity market by requiring board members to reside in Texas. HB 10 creates 5 board positions to be appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker, including one position that represents residential consumer interests.
House Bill 11 will ensure the reliability and resiliency of the ERCOT grid during extreme weather emergencies by requiring generation, transmission and distribution facilities to weatherize infrastructure to withstand extreme cold and heat. HB 11 provides flexibility for facilities with different needs by allowing them the discretion to choose the best weatherization methods for them.
House Bill 12 will promote better communication by authorizing the Texas Division of Emergency Management to study and establish a statewide disaster alert system to alert consumers of widespread power outages. This will allow Texans to make more informed decisions about emergency preparedness and safety by providing them with information about power outages and the service of electricity, water, and gas prior to and during an emergency.
House Bill 13 improves coordination by establishing the Texas Energy Disaster Reliability Council to improve coordination between the electricity and natural gas industries, which are crucial to providing electricity to Texans. HB 13 will help ensure the efficient flow of electricity to natural gas production facilities and natural gas to electric generators and require the council to act as a central repository for information to help prevent service outages to critical infrastructure in the future.
House Bill 16 will protect consumers from sky-high electric bills by banning the sale of wholesale indexed products to residential customers, which can leave them vulnerable to extreme fluctuations in electricity prices. HB 16 ensures that any future pricing volatility seen in Texas’ electricity market during disasters is not passed on to the consumer through high electricity bills.
House Bill 17 empowers consumers by ensuring homeowners, builders, and businesses have the ability to decide how best to meet their energy needs by preserving customer choice and access to energy sources in Texas. HB 17 Prohibits policies that would ban or discriminate against a single energy source, like those in other states and cities that have moved to ban natural gas in new residential and commercial construction.
Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (Beaumont) made the following statement on the House’s passage of its priority legislation to reform the state’s electric grid in response to Winter Storm Uri: "The Texas House today took important first steps in passing critical, essential reforms in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. The actions taken by the House will help restore confidence in our critical infrastructure after the catastrophic mismanagement of our electric grid last month. The House's legislative package will reform ERCOT, ensure the reliability of our grid in extreme weather conditions, defend ratepayers, and improve coordination during times of crisis."
Representative Morales said, "I am proud to be a co-author of this major legislation as a freshman representative. While I wish the issues of the winter storm could have been prevented by previous policy recommendations, I am glad that both (party) and (party) could come together to find solutions that will prevent these type of massive power outages from happening again."
Representative Eddie Morales, Jr. is currently serving his first term as the State Representative for House District 74, which includes the counties of Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Val Verde.
CONTACT: AMY RISTER