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Several Democrats introduced new legislation; they want Texas’ power grid to connect to the nation’s major grids

Texas – Democratic politicians have put forward a bill to make sure Texas’ electricity network joins up with the big power systems across the country. This move is to prevent a repeat of the terrible power outage in winter 2021 that resulted in the loss of many lives.

The proposed legislature comes three years after devastating Winter Storm Uri

Rep. Greg Casar from Texas and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Connect the Grid Act. This comes three years after Texas experienced a massive power failure during Winter Storm Uri, which left millions without electricity for several days and caused at least 245 deaths.

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Casar explained that making the Texas power grid, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), connect with other grids would help Texas avoid such disasters in the future. ERCOT provides power to most of the 30 million people living in Texas.

“Texans can’t afford inaction. Whether we’re in the middle of a heat wave or a winter storm, we should be able to keep the lights on, especially as the climate crisis gets worse,” Casar said in a statement.

He mentioned that the bill would enable Texas to get electricity from other states when necessary and to sell extra electricity.

“We can keep the lights on, and make sure that no family is left stranded is a mass power outage again,” he said.

If the legislature becomes law, it will allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to monitor ERCOT

The proposed law would also bring ERCOT under the watch of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Furthermore, it requires FERC and the Department of Energy to study how connecting with Mexico could be beneficial.

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The bill would “protect Texans from future climate emergencies, all while improving the electrical grid’s reliability, saving billions of dollars, and dedicating $13.5 billion to creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We need to do everything in our power to ensure a preventable tragedy doesn’t happen again while simultaneously fighting the climate crisis.”

At a news briefing, officials criticized the Texas grid managers for making money from the 2021 disaster.

People “died not just because of what happened on a climate level, [but] because of what happened on a structural and leadership level,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It happened because of greed… during the storm, a Texas energy executive even hopped on an investor call and said, quote, this week is like hitting the jackpot with some of these incredible prices. Incredible for who?”

The criticism extended to Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz for going to Cancun, Mexico, with his family during the storm.

Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia supports the bill too

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, another Democrat from Texas backing the bill, accused Abbott and his allies of valuing profits over people’s welfare.

“Under Greg Abbott’s watch, the energy capital of the world was left in the dark. People paid the price,” Garcia said.

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“This bill will improve energy reliability in Texas, save billions of dollars, and allow us to send power to our neighbors in need. It’s time for Texas to join the national grid and ensure that while we power America, we keep the lights on at home.”

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