HOUSTON — It’s not even summer yet, but the Texas heat is already causing problems for ERCOT. The power grid operator is asking Texans to conserve energy through the whole week.
On Tuesday, the request caused #TexasPowerGrid to trend on Twitter.
Last week Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bills 2 and 3, aimed at fixing the state’s power grid after it failed during February’s winter storm. The failure left millions of Texans in the freezing dark and at least 151 deaths have been reported.
However, KHOU 11 energy expert Ed Hirs says the bills are vague.
“There is really nothing in SB2 and SB3 that helps,” Hirs explained.
Although generation companies are asked to weatherize aging equipment, Hirs says there’s no real timeline listed.
“SB2 and SB3 have, kind of, end-of-the-year guidelines for implementation, but quite honestly, there are really no carrots and sticks to see anything get done," he said.
The bills do allow for up to a $1 million fine for not weatherizing. Hirs believes that might not be much of an incentive for companies.
“Sure, there might be $1 million fine, but if there is a plant that doesn’t come online, and they get a $1 million fine, they might be making billions on the other side," Hirs said.
Energy experts have said Texas’ power generators need to be updated and invested in. Hirs believes that right now there’s not much of a reason a company would spend that money.
“We have a grid that is larger than the grid of many nations. We actually have to start treating it like it’s something to be cared for," Hirs said.