Lawmakers File Energy – Related Bills for 88th Session

 December 8, 2022 – During the most recent Regular Session of the Texas Legislature — the 87th that concluded in 2021 — lawmakers filed approximately 400 energy-related bills. Far more than the typical number filed during most legislative sessions, the high number was largely the result of public outcry over that year’s winter storm power outages.
The next legislative session convenes on January 10 and lawmakers so far have submitted a couple of dozen bills relating to energy issues — with more on the way. However, given that Texas so far has not suffered a repeat grid crisis, don’t expect the number of such bills to match the 87th session. This year’s bill filing deadline is March 10.
Some of the bills we’ve seen so far relate to wind and solar power, electric vehicles and energy efficiency. Here’s a sample:

• House Bill 564, by state Rep. Ron Reynolds, would require the Texas Facilities Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Information Resources, to conduct a study on the potential use by state agencies of energy efficient and energy-saving information technology.

• HB 763, by Rep. Christina Morales, requires the PUC to study the impact of additional interconnections between the ERCOT grid, Mexico and other jurisdictions. This is refiled legislation from 2021.

• HB 795, by Rep. Ed Thompson, would require nursing homes to maintain an emergency generator or comparable power source that can operate for at least 72 hours during a power outage.

• HB 820, by Rep. Ken King, would impose an additional registration fee of $200 for electric vehicles and $100 for hybrid vehicles. Most proceeds would go to the State Highway Fund, but 10 percent would go an “electric battery disposal account” to reimburse costs incurred by the state or its political subdivisions for disposing of electric car batteries.

• SB 114, by Jose Menendez, stipulates that electric customers are entitled to participate in demand response programs through their retail electric providers and must receive notice when ERCOT issues an emergency energy alert about low operating reserves to generators, planned outages, and the length of time the outages are expected to last.

• SB 258, by Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, would enhance energy efficiency goals for electric utilities.