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2 Key Bills In Response To Texas Winter Power Outages Advance

(CBSDFW.COM) - Texas lawmakers are making progress on some key bills aimed at preventing February's widespread and deadly power outages.

On Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that requires the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas to designate natural gas production facilities that supply electric generators as critical during an emergency.

Ideally, it would prevent the facilities from losing electricity, as some did during February's power outages, and would restore power quickly if they did.

Todd Staples, President of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, said that bill and others are ones they'd like to see passed. "Reliability is the goal, and I'm confident that the legislature will get meaningful reforms passed."

On Tuesday, a House committee approved Senate Bill 3 and sent it to the full House.

It requires electric power generators and key natural gas production facilities to winterize their facilities to prevent the outages experienced in February.

If that doesn't happen, operators could face fines of up to $1 million a day.

Staples said, "Our processing plants all the way to power generation units are very important to be winterized in statute, and have those accountability requirements so that that product can get moved throughout the system."

The bill also requires state regulators to set up a statewide alert system to notify Texans about potential outages, map out key infrastructure and meet regularly to identify potential problems before an emergency.

Staples said, "They're all going to be in a war room. And they're really going to stay together and focused on how to make certain Texans get what they need."

Ultimately, lawmakers in the House and Senate will have to hash out their differences in these and other bills they're working on in response to the February storms.

Full Interview With Todd Staples:

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