Texas House Gives Final Passage To Various Bills In Power Outage Aftermath

The Texas House gave final passage to six bills aimed at preventing last month's widespread and deadly power outages from ever happening again.

Video Transcript

- Today, the Texas legislature got a step closer to approving new reforms to prevent things like we saw last month, a widespread deadly power outages. Our political reporter, Jack Fink, tonight explains what's in the legislation and what comes next.

JACK FINK: Today, the Texas House gave final passage to six bills by overwhelming margins. This comes two days after the state Senate passed its own legislation.

- There being 149 ayes, zero nays. House Bill 11 has finally passed.

- HB 11 is among the six pieces of legislation approved today. It would require the public utility commission, which regulates the state's power grid operator, ERCOT, to mandate winterizing power plants and electricity providers.

Some critics have said the House Bill, though, doesn't have enough enforcement measures. It also does not include two requirements in a Senate Bill, SP3, that passed Monday. That bill would require natural gas facilities and pipelines to be prepared for extreme winter weather, and would also issue fines of up to $1 million per day against companies that don't comply.

The House is considering a bill requiring natural gas facilities to be winterized. 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 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 says House and Senate members will consider each other's bills and compromise.

DADE PHELAN: We will hash out the differences. There's no pride in ownership between the two chambers. We just want to do what's right for [INAUDIBLE].

JACK FINK: Other legislation being considered, how to pay for some of those improvements at the facilities and increased oversight of ERCOT and the public utility commission. Jack Fink, CBS 11 News.