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Energy secretary urges Texas to tighten power regs following blackout



TX – U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm urged the Texas Legislature Wednesday to tighten up regulations on the state’s power grid to prevent a repeat of the blackouts earlier this month that left millions without power for days on end.

She pointed to a 2011 report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recommending that Texas power plants and transmission companies better weatherize their equipment against cold weather, following a rolling blackout the previous winter.

“Everybody knows that now and it’s out there,” she said, speaking at the IHS Markit CERAWeek confernce. ” I hope the legislature in Texas provides the ability to be prepared and sustain for the kinds of storms we saw because it will not be a one off.”

Governor Greg Abbott has already called on the Legislature to focus on power grid reform this session, with Republicans and Democrats alike looking at possible changes to force power companies to be better prepared for inclement weather – something climate scientists warn is likely to be a bigger problem in decades ahead.

Granholm urged power regulators across the country to take steps to improve the resliency of their power grids, “even in warm places.”

And she also said Texas should think about expanding interconnections with neighboring power grids, to not only help them in a crisis but also to be able to send electricity to Oklahoma or Louisiana should their grids fall into trouble.

“I understand the go it alone ethos but there’s also an ethos of helping your neighbor,” Granholm said. “Texas is generating a lot of clean energy and there’s a market out there eager to accept it.”