A new Senate bill aims to incentivize companies to weatherize the power grid and prevent power lines from starting wildfires. 

The legislation, introduced Thursday by Democratic Oregon Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHow the pandemic turbocharged inequalityRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanentOn The Money: COVID-19 relief bill on track for House passage, Biden signature Wednesday | First new checks to go out starting next weekMORE and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyHouse-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interferenceBipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocksPentagon prevented immediate response to mob, says Guard chiefMORE, would create an annual $10 billion matching grant program for companies that want to reduce the risk of their power lines from causing wildfires or seek to make the grid more resilient to natural disasters. 

No American should have to worry about their life being at risk because theyve been stranded for days or weeks on end without electricity, or because their community is on the verge of being enveloped in a catastrophic wildfire started by a power line spark, Merkley said in a statement. 

Especially as summer droughts and intense winter storms become more common, now is the time to invest in our power grids and reduce the chance of outages or sparks, he added. 

Activities that could be funded under the bill include undergrounding new and existing power lines, creating weather-monitoring stations and hardening facilities against seismic events. 

The grants would be matching, meaning that companies need to invest an equal amount, except for small utilities, which would have to match one-third of the grant. 

The effort comes after winter storms last month battered various parts of the country, most notably Texas, where millions were left without power and several people died. 

Last year, the Western part of the U.S. faced record-setting wildfires that burned for weeks and claimed dozens of lives.