(TNS) — Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb on Friday would direct the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance the security and reliability of America's electrical grid.

The Grid Modernization Research and Development Act of 2019, or House Resolution 5428, would establish a research program to secure the nation's power grid in the event of natural disasters and cyberthreats while boosting emergency response times to such incidents.

The bill would authorize a new research and development program and extend the Smart Grid Regional Demonstration initiative, an Obama-era program created to modernize the nation's energy and communication infrastructure.

It would also amend existing legislation involving energy security and independence.

"The electric grid powers the lives of all Americans—we need to invest in the research to ensure our constituents, companies, and defense installations have electricity when they need it most," said Lamb, D-17, Mount Lebanon. "This commonsense legislation supports the research programs to adopt new technologies, improve the environment and create family-sustaining jobs in the energy economy."

Lamb introduced the bill alongside U.S. Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican representing Washington's 3rd Congressional District. It's one of a number of bills introduced recently to repair the country's aging energy infrastructure.

"When a sizable earthquake or other disaster impacts southwest Washington, it's essential our families and seniors can depend on working electricity to help keep them safe," said Herrera Beutler.

Costs to implement these changes would total $240 million in fiscal year 2020, according to the legislation, with allocations expected to steadily increase through 2024.

The research is expected to better integrate buildings and electric vehicles into existing grid infrastructure, too. It has earned the endorsement of North Carolina-based Duke Energy, the Edison Electric Institute and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The U.S. electrical grid is the largest unified network in the world, connecting power lines and generating plants to factories, homes and businesses.

©2019 the Beaver County Times (Beaver, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.