AUSTIN, Texas (KSLA) — Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan announced at least seven bills Monday that would address electricity issues the state faced during historic winter storms last month.
Some of the bills address the roles of the electric companies, while others focus on communication.
“I was upset with the way it was handled, as well,” said Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall. “I think my colleagues share in that. There were a lot of mistakes made.”
The East Texas lawmaker who chairs the State Affairs Committee authored three of the seven bills.
Paddie said communication completely broke down during the storms, causing more and more issues as people sat in their homes and, in many cases, with no food or water. Therefore, he said, this legislation is the first step in taking accountability and regaining Texans’ trust.
“Everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” Paddie said.
Legislators plan to restructure the ERCOT board, replacing the unaffiliated members with members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House, according to a news release from Phelan’s office.
Paddie said this change also would help ensure that board members live in Texas.
Meantime, House Bill 12 would create “a statewide disaster alert system administered by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM),” according to the news release.
House Bill 11 would “... deal with weatherization and making sure utility companies are properly prepared for extreme hot events and extreme cold events, as well,” Paddie explained.
Plus, another bill would ban variable-rate electric bills.
“Those are some of the ones we hear about of people getting thousand of dollars of utility bills,” Paddie said.