By Abby McAdams
During the month of February, 2021, a series of debilitating freezes swept over Texas, cutting power off from the entire state and resulting in billions of dollars of damage and hundreds of lives lost. Will this proposed Winterization bill help prevent this crisis from ever happening again, or will it just present new problems for Texas?
It’s no opinion that the Texas freeze was a devastating crisis which endangered tens of millions of people and caused massive amounts of damage. The Winterization bill proposes that, in order to combat the neglect of the current statewide power grid, the bill would not only technologically modify the power grid so it can withstand harsher winters, but would also mandate the winterization of individual homes and private businesses.
To maintain this addition, the Texas Department of Energy would regularly perform inspections of private property. Businesses and companies not adhering to this bill would have to pay a fine. The author of this bill claimed this could “combat structural racism” of private companies which may favor certain districts or counties over others. The author also claimed that instating state control over the Texas power grid would prevent crises such as the 2021 power outage. Despite these seemingly positive factors of the bill, the committee showed their concern over its fallacies.
Those against the bill argued that the bill was too vague and could easily lead to corruption. These speakers also said that state-mandated inspections of private property were infringements of individual rights, and that the bill’s fines for not following the inspections wouldn’t do enough. An amendment to base the fines from the income of each company was brought forward and was passed unanimously, but in the end, the amended bill failed.
This controversy prompted the present issue of Texas’s power grid – the court agreed that something must be done about the electric grid, but the Winterization bill wouldn’t get the job done.