HOUSTON - A bill filed in the Texas legislature Tuesday would prevent certain types of homes from losing power for more than six hours during rolling blackouts.
This bill would make sure those living in apartment complexes won’t lose power for more than six hours at a time during scheduled outtags.
Monica Shroff & her family took no chances during the historic winter storm. They jetted to a family member’s house as soon as the lights went out.
With a 1-month-old newborn son, no power, heat, or water for extended periods of time, it could’ve been detrimental to his health and safety.
"For breast pump, you need power, to keep milk safe, you need power for refrigerators, for warm milk, you need power, you need water to warm milk — so those basic things for a baby to not freeze," said Shroff.
Shroff said perhaps the worst part was the uncertainty of not knowing when power would be restored to her apartment building in the Museum District.
"We were not going to stay. If we knew it would come back in an hour or two, we would. But obviously, no one knew how long anything was going to be out," Shroff said.
"They said we had rolling blackouts but for some of us, I don't know about you, it wasn’t too rolling. It blacked out and it stayed that way for days and days and days -- that was part of the problem," said Terry Meza, Texas State Representative, District 105.
On Tuesday — Rep. Meza from Irving, Texas filed House Bill 2638 in the Texas legislature. If passed, the bill would protect the roughly 1.4 million Texans, like Shroff, living in apartment complexes from experiencing this trauma again.
Meza's bill, House Bill 2638, will require the Public Utility Commission to promulgate rules prohibiting any electric utility, municipally-owned utility, or electric cooperative from keeping a multifamily property with more than 25 units without power for longer than six hours.
"There's a perception that apartment complexes were targeted. They needed to shed power, shed consumers. It turns out the easiest way to shed consumers was apartment complexes. We're hoping this legislation will help a lot of people, but we’re actually hoping that this never happens again," Meza said.
Meza said the logic of the six hour cap is based off the amount of time it takes for perishable food to go bad.
The bill will have to head to committee next for a hearing.