Gov. Perry Signs SB 769
We are here today to sign a bill that is connected to the emergency items that I declared at the beginning of this session.
As you know, the 2008 storm season was the most expensive on record in Texas, causing tens of billions of dollars of damage across our state. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, roughly 2.8 billion customers were without power, some for several weeks, as we worked to recover from that deadly storm.
I remember during one of my tours of affected area, meeting a number of power crews who had come to Texas from all across the country. I met linemen from Rhode Island, New York, Oklahoma and beyond, all of them working long hours to get Texans reconnected to the grid.
I was inspired by their work ethic, their dedication and their good cheer in the face of a tough situation. However, I'm pretty sure those folks weren't working for free.
Instead, Texas utility companies were expending their resources to restore power in the quickest way possible, using every available resource.
For most folks, that situation was resolved when the lights come back on, but the power companies not only kept working on restoring their entire systems, they and their customers were also on the hook for some major costs.
Senate Bill 769 doesn't change the fact that the Public Utility Commission has to review all of these costs, but it does streamline the process, which will keep prices down and the lights on. It also allows utilities to issue low-cost bonds like they did after Hurricane Rita, which will decrease the financial impact on consumers.
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but Hurricane Ike isn't the last storm that'll ever hit Texas. The bill I'm signing today will help us prepare even better for the next storm and recover more quickly when it has gone.
I want to thank Senator Williams who authored the bill and Representative Thompson for carrying it through the House.
I'd also like to recognize their co-authors and fellow sponsors here today, for their support.
With every storm, we examine our approaches to do better next time. This legislation is part of that process and it will better prepare Texas to recover from Mother Nature's next big show.
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