Texas lawmakers still have work to do to improve state's power grid

After grand promises that a statewide power grid failure will not happen again, the Texas Legislature will make some modest changes with the cost passed on to consumers.

Lawmakers in the Texas House debated for hours Sunday discussing ways to reform the state’s power grid after February’s deadly power outages. Millions of Texans were left in the dark during record-breaking cold weather.

Most of the debate focused on who pays for reserve power. Right now it’s covered by Texas electric providers.

The Senate wants renewable energy sources like wind and solar power to cover the costs. The House decided against that.

Senate Bill 3 also mandates power generators prepare for extreme weather but it does not say who would cover the costs.

Some critics fear the bill is too weak to make any distinguishable change in future events.

"We are figuring out first and foremost what were the problems and the challenges that had a tremendous effect on Texas. And once we have identified, what are the solutions to ensure the problems don’t happen again," said Rep. Chris Paddie, a Republican from Marshall, Texas.

"Rules without enforcement and a timeline are meaningless," argued Rep. Chris Turner, a Democrat from Grand Prairie.

The bill would also require natural gas companies to register as critical infrastructure to keep them from losing electricity during an emergency.

More than two dozen amendments were proposed Sunday and most of them failed.

Once the House grants final approval it will go to a conference committee where the House and Senate will work out their differences.

Lawmakers have one week to get the priority legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.