Lake Travis - Westlake Edition | May 2021

Committee ROLES This is what each of the assigned committees related to this matter is responsible for after it is assigned a bill.

Remainingwork Howard said she is condent the Legislature will successfully address reforms in how ERCOT and the PUC function, but with the current legis- lative session ending May 30, there are other issues that may not be fully studied and addressed. “The part that we are leaving out is the railroad commission, which is responsible for [regulating] oil and gas,” she said. “That part of the equa- tion is a very signicant part of this, and that has not had as much focus as it needs to have.” The Texas Railroad Commission is led by three elected commissioners and regulates the oil and gas industry, pipeline transporters, natural gas util- ities, the liquid pipeline industry, coal and uranium surface mining opera- tions, and the LP-gas industry. It sets monthly production quotas, issues drilling permits and orders inspections of wells. In addition to participating in TERC, railroad commissioners said in aMarch pressreleasethat theyareworkingwith the Texas Legislature to ensure that oil and gas producers, during future man- dated blackouts from ERCOT, are con- sidered “critical infrastructure.” “This along with increased

performance during the February winter storm. SB 2 bill passed the day after ERCOT announced it may enter into emergency conditions April 13 as a result of facilities being oine for maintenance and the state experi- encing higher-than-expected tem- peratures and power demand. No outages were needed at that time as emergency conditions were not reached after ERCOT requested conservation. “This week’s conservation alert reinforces the fact that Texans need and deserve a comprehensive legis- lative response that keeps our eye on the main goal: real reliability,” state Sen. Kelly Hancock, RNorth Rich- land Hills, said in an April 14 release. Other prominent bills include SB 2154, which is similar to SB 2 in that it reforms the Public Utility Commis- sion, the entity that oversees ERCOT and regulates telecommunication and other utilities. The bill, authored by Schwertner, would require the commission to have ve members, an increase from three, and requires members to be Texas residents. “Itreallystartsat thetop,”Schwertner said. “With good leadership, you can get through a lot of crises.”

Jurisprudence Committee: Tasked with making recommendations for improving nes by state and local entities Business & Commerce Committee: Study initiatives from the Public Utility Commission of Texas to maintain the competitive retail electric market in Electric Reliability Commission of Texas operations State Aairs Committee: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation

SOURCE: TEXAS SENATECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

event, and doing so in a manner that does not adversely pass those high costs to retail consumers. “We havemany small utilities, coop- eratives and municipal-owned utili- ties,” Howard said. “Some are looking at bankruptcy. Somehow we have to keep the power on, keep it reliable, but also gure out a way to share the bur- den of what that cost was.” Additional reporting done by Greg Perliski.

communication through TERC will ensure we are able to plan and pre- pare for weather events much better in the future,” railroad Commissioner JimWright stated in the release. Still, other areas remain under study as the legislative session enters its nal month, Howard said. First, there is a plan to fund man- dated weatherization programs using the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, also known as the “rainy day fund.” Second, is a method for state- wide wholesale electric providers to manage and cover the high cost of nat- ural gas during a prolonged weather

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LAKE TRAVIS  WESTLAKE EDITION • MAY 2021

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