North Texas State Senator To Refile Past Bill Calling For Threat Assessment of Texas Electric Grid

Two years ago, Sen. Bob Hall, the Republican from Van Zandt County filed the legislation that passed the Senate, but died in the House.

Video Transcript

DOUG DUNBAR: Today, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced two bills aimed at reforming the state's electric grid operator, ERCOT, and provide stability for the power grid. But a North Texas Senator says he's been fighting the last six years to secure the state's power grid. Our political reporter Jack Fink looking into why that didn't happen. It's all new at 5 o'clock.

SEN. BOB HALL: Electricity, in today's world, is the third most important thing to sustaining life.

JACK FINK: Republican State Senator Bob Hall of Van Zandt County says millions of Texans experienced that firsthand during last week's widespread power outages.

SEN. BOB HALL: The only two things more important are air and water. Thant even our water supply is threatened by not having electricity.

JACK FINK: Two years ago, Senator Hall filed a bill that would have created a grid Security Council that would have been required to make recommendations by November of last year on how to protect the state's power grid from a variety of threats, including weather, cyber and sabotage.

SEN. BOB HALL: And we need to be aware of them and quit pretending like it's going to always magically appear whenever we turn the switch on that we're going to have electricity.

JACK FINK: The bill passed the Senate but died in the House. He says it's crucial, given that ERCOT leaders announced last week just how close the grid came to sustaining catastrophic blackouts.

BILL MAGNESS: And it was seconds to minutes, given the amount of generation that was coming off the system at the same time that the demand was still going up significantly.

JACK FINK: Democratic State Representative Michelle Beckley agrees with Hall.

MICHELLE BECKLEY: This happened during session, so we need to fix it now.

JACK FINK: Beckley says she's refiling another bill that failed years ago, it would have ERCOT boost the amount of power in reserve.

MICHELLE BECKLEY: It would require that we do the [? research ?] and see how much backup power we need-- clearly, we need more than we had.

SEN. BOB HALL: It is up to the legislature now to step up and give direction to the state agencies and to the, and to the power companies that failed to do their job.

JACK FINK: Jack Fink, CBS 11 News.