Good things are happening! Federal regulators have a new plan to bolster energy security and protect consumers. What’s more, an oil giant must pay up for hiding consumer dangers, environmental regulators aim to turn contaminated areas into community hubs, and more states are phasing out an outdated way of counting incarcerated people to make voting fairer. 

A New Era For The Grid

The nation’s energy grid could soon become more reliable and affordable. On May 13, the federal government released new transmission and cost allocation rules that aim to bolster the country’s electricity infrastructure and protect consumers.

The new rules, released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will require energy providers to consider future needs and benefits when planning new facilities, and to allow states a larger say in determining how to pay for these facilities. These rules also mandate that consumers should only pay for the updates and new facilities that they can benefit from.

Blackouts are happening more frequently across the nation as climate change and extreme weather drive up energy demand and strain infrastructure, often leaving poorer communities without power for seven or more days. Neglected facilities have also become a frequent cause of disasters. In California, aging power lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric came into contact with a tree and sparked the 2021 Dixie Fire, the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history, which burned through five counties and destroyed more than a thousand structures.