Sen. Yaw: Grid Reliability Key Focus During Senate Majority Policy Committee Hearing

PITTSBURGH – State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23), Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, today participated in a Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing at the Boilermakers Local 154 in Pittsburgh to discuss energy access and affordability.

During the conversation, representatives from business, healthcare, organized labor and trade associations also focused on grid reliability, as they engaged with the committee.

“Pennsylvania’s base load generation has already been affected by the closure of the Cheswick coal fired generation facility near here,” Sen. Yaw said. “The impact on our base load was glaringly brought to light just a few weeks ago when for the first time in recent history, and perhaps ever, PJM warned of possible rolling blackouts during the extreme cold period around Christmas. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life and I cannot remember a time when we were told to conserve energy.”

PJM, a regional transmission organization for 13 states and the District of Columbia, coordinates the flow of electricity from generators to local utilities across a web of high-voltage transmission lines. Local utilities distribute this power directly to consumers.

“If electricity demand spikes in Philadelphia, but short-sighted environmental policies have forced fossil fuel plants into nonexistence, there are fewer reliable energy sources to shoulder the burden,” Yaw added.  “We need a secure, reliable electric grid.”

A similar story unfolded in Texas in 2021 when an unprecedented winter storm froze generators and rendered natural gas, solar and wind farms useless, leaving as many as 4 million Texans without power or water. More than 200 people died amid the chaos.  On Thursday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) voted to adopt a set of guiding principles for implementation to strengthen reliability, accountability, and affordability of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) electric grid.

“I firmly believe responsible efficient use of fossil fuel and green energy can co-exist in a well-balanced energy plan. Pennsylvania generates more energy than our residents need each day, making energy production and sales a critical part of our state’s economy.  As we have seen in Texas, any decisions on energy policy will have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives.”

RECAP: Today’s Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing here.

For more state-related news and information, constituents can visit Yaw’s website at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter @SenatorGeneYaw.

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