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Texas House Gives Final Passage To 6 Bills Meant To Prevent Widespread Power Outages

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The Texas House gave final passage on Wednesday, March 31, to six bills aimed at preventing last month's widespread and deadly power outages from ever happening again.

The votes comes two days after the State Senate passed its own legislation, SB 3.

Under House Bill 11, the Public Utility Commission would be required to mandate winterizing power plants and electricity providers and enforce it.

The Commission regulates the state's power grid operator, ERCOT.

Some critics have expressed concerns the House bill doesn't have enough enforcement measures.

The House bills passed Monday don't include two requirements in SB 3, which would require natural gas facilities and pipelines to be prepared for extreme winter weather.

It would also issue fines of up to $1 million per day against companies that don't comply.

The House is considering a separate bill requiring natural gas facilities to be winterized.

Also Wednesday, the House approved a measure banning the sale of variable rate electricity plans for residential customers.

Other measures approved by the House and Senate bills would establish a statewide alert system if there could be power outages, whether in the winter or summer.

Bills would also form a new council to ensure the natural gas and electric power sectors meet regularly.

House Speaker Dade Phelan told CBS 11 last Friday, March 26, that House and Senate members will consider each other's bills and compromise.

"We will hash out the differences. And there's no private and ownership between the two chambers. We just want to do what's right for all Texans."

Other legislation being considered centers on paying for improvements at the facilities and increasing oversight of the PUC and ERCOT.

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