NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Following widespread power outages around Christmas due to a severe winter storm and subsequent calls for voluntary power reductions from TVA, Tennessee lawmakers are looking to protect Tennesseans in the future should such a storm occur again and possibly affect the power grid.

Dec. 22, a snow and ice storm brought Nashville and much of the Volunteer State to a halt, straining the electric usage of local power companies and even the TVA itself. The multi-state electric provider put out a call for local utility providers to reduce how much electricity they used from TVA and rolling blackouts in order to prevent a full collapse of the system.

That strain now has lawmakers looking to investigate how reliable the electric grid in Tennessee is and what steps electric providers can take to prioritize the health and safety of Tennesseans in the future.

HB0408/SB0374 – This bill “prohibits an entity that delivers energy that powers heating or cooling to residential properties from shutting off energy delivery if a state or emergency has been declared due to weather or if temperatures reach levels that would be a threat to health or safety if energy is shut off.” The bill is brought by Rep. John Ray Clemmons in the House and Sen. Heidi Campbell in the Senate. Both are Nashville Democrats.

HB1037/SB0962 – The bill “directs TACIR to study the reliability of the power grid on which this state relies for electricity, including assessing the grid’s reliability in extreme weather scenarios, examining precautions taken by municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and other similar entities have the capability of doing an annual assessment of the grid’s reliability in extreme weather scenarios.” TACIR is the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The bill is brought by Rep. Larry Miller and Sen. London Lamar, both Memphis Democrats.

HB0601/SB1181 – As introduced, this bill “requires a utility that provides electricity to prioritize the provision of electricity to a healthcare facility when engaging in load management for the electric service system.” The bill is brought in the House by Rep. Jason Powell, a Nashville Democrat, and in the Senate by Sen. Art Swann, a Maryville Republican.

Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.

What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More

You can also find daily coverage from the session here.