by Wendell Bell
Source – Grid Monitor
The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday gave tentative approval to a senate bill that would create the Texas Electric Grid Security Council, an advisory body to coordinate the sharing and implementation of best security practices for electric industry.
The council proposed in Senate Bill 475 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) would be composed of the chair of the Public Utility Commission, the chief executive officer of ERCOT, and the governor, or the designees of each. The council could consult and coordinate with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Department of Homeland Security, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, federal and state agencies, members of the electric industry and other grid security experts.
Members of the council could apply for a secret security clearance granted by the federal government. A member of the council would not be allowed to access classified information or participate in council activities involving such information unless the member had a secret security clearance.
The council’s meetings and information obtained or created by the council would be exempt from state open meetings and open records requirements. The House version of the bill adds provisions dealing with the treatment of nonclassified information, which would be maintained by ERCOT.
If given final House approval on Wednesday, the bill would move back to the upper chamber where senators can decide whether to concur with House amendments.