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Special Legislative Session Ends With No Action Taken to Address Energy Demand Records

Three energy demand records were already set this summer, adding to the 11 set in ‘22

AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Legislature on Thursday ended its second special session during a week when at least two new peak electricity demand records were set due to dangerously high temperatures. The end of the session means Gov. Greg Abbott and state lawmakers missed another opportunity to take significant action to curb rising electricity usage, Public Citizen said today.

“Problems don’t fix themselves,” Adrian Shelley, Texas director of Public Citizen, said of the legislative inaction. “Heat waves and other extreme weather will continue to test the Texas electric grid. Our leaders can’t hide from this problem forever. First, they should thank wind and solar for taking the pressure off in another summer of record-setting demand. Then they should get serious about strategies that will reduce energy demand and save consumers money.”

The Texas grid saw its first demand record of the year on June 27, less than a week after the start of summer. This week, the record was broken two more times. During the summer of 2022, 11 new demand records were set and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued multiple urgent calls to conserve to avoid power outages.

The Legislature considered numerous proposals to reduce energy demand this year – investment in energy efficiency programs, for example. Still, the bills received no support from state leaders. Gov. Abbott – who vetoed the lone meaningful energy efficiency bill passed in the regular session – did not include grid stability in the agenda for either special session.

The Texas Legislature is not expected to return for another special session until this fall, and its next regular session begins in January 2025.