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Current Grade

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Trend - Slightly Up


Funding needed to raise to a "B" Grade



  • Remaining need not covered by federal
  • Need covered by Biden
  • Need covered by GOP
  • Need covered by CSC
  • Need covered by PSC
Power Grid Infrastructure

Our power grid delivers the electricity that is essential to homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other essential services. ASCE gives our energy infrastructure a C-, up from a D in 2017. ASCE estimates that $19.7 billion per year in new spending would be needed to get our electrical grid to a B. Baseline levels of federal spending on our power infrastructure have not been provided.

President Biden, the Common Sense Coalition, and the Problem Solvers Caucus all agree that we should invest significantly more in our electric grid. Senate Republicans propose no new funding.

The White House proposed $4.2 billion in new federal spending each year, which is 21% of the ASCE estimated need. At $14.6 billion, CSC proposes by far the biggest investment in our electric grid. CSC’s plan would cover 74% of the estimated need. President Biden now supports CSC’s bigger investment. PSC proposes $3.1 billion in new spending per year, which is 16% of the ASCE estimated need.

The Case for a Big Investment

Severe winter storms in February 2021 caused outages that left more than 4.5 million Texas homes and businesses without power in the biting cold. Supporters suggest that the Texas experience highlights one of three main reasons our electric grid needs a major upgrade. It is not nearly resilient enough, they argue, to withstand extreme weather when that power is needed most.

A second reason given for investing substantially more in our grid is that it is also too susceptible to terrorist attack. As our connected world becomes increasingly dependent on reliable power, some argue, an aging electrical grid in mediocre condition is a soft target for those who would do us harm.

Third, supporters argue that a smart and efficient electric grid is critical to moving the country toward green energy and lower power bills. Often power sources like wind and solar are far from population centers. A modern grid, supporters argue, will more efficiently move cleaner electricity to where it is needed. Because it lowers the cost of electricity, they argue, it will also reduce Americans’ power bills. Building out the new power grid will put many Americans to work in good jobs, proponents argue. Supporters argue that beyond that, clean and affordable energy will power American productivity across our economy.

The Case for No New Investment

Opponents, including Senate Republicans, point to the meaningful improvement from a D in 2017 to a C- in 2021 as evidence that new federal spending on the electrical grid is not needed for it to improve. They also argue that the costs of power outages do not justify the level of investment proposed by the other three plans.

The Evidence

ASCE cites a slight decrease in power outages over the last four years as part of the evidence leading to the better grade for the electrical grid in 2021. ASCE also issued a 2020 Failure to Act report specifically on our electric infrastructure. As American life and its economy is increasingly wired and dependent on electricity, it found that the costs of outages are increasing. ASCE estimated that each power outage costs a household an average of $6.68 from losses such as damaged electronics and spoiled food. The report also found that the cost of power outages is disproportionately borne by businesses. ASCE estimated the impacts to the economy overall from business costs results in a loss of $13 of disposable income per household each year. ASCE cited a 2019 Government Accountability Office (GAO) study finding that from 2014 – 2018 there were four cyber-attacks on some part of the U.S. electric grid, none of which were successful in causing a power outage.