Four members of the board of directors of the Texas power operator are planning to step down after last week’s power outages left millions without power in brutal winter conditions.
The chair of the board of directors and vice-chair of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, along with two other board members, issued a joint statement announcing their intention to resign at a meeting Wednesday, according to a filing with the Texas Public Utility Commission.
“To give state leaders a free hand in the future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are stepping down from the board after the urgent board teleconference meeting ends on Wednesday, February 24, 2021,” indicates the press release.
ERCOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter was signed by President Sally Talberg, Vice President Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger and Human Resources and Governance Committee Chairman Raymond Hepper.
The four members said in the letter that they had heard concerns about the leadership of the board “out of state” and wanted to acknowledge the “pain and suffering” of Texans during the week. last.
“With the right monitoring, Texas can lead the country to invest in infrastructure and emergency preparedness to withstand the effects of severe weather events – whether in the form of flooding, drought, extreme temperatures. or hurricanes, ”the letter reads. “We want the best for ERCOT and Texas.”
A fifth person, Craig Ivey, withdrew his petition to fill a vacant board position in a letter acknowledging that he too lives outside Texas, according to the filing. Ivey said in his opinion that Texas is a state with a “rich history” where people are “proud, independent and resilient”.
“I am convinced that Texas and ERCOT will come out of this crisis better than ever before,” Ivey’s letter said.
Governor Greg Abbott said he “welcomed” the resignations in a statement Tuesday.
“When the Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT didn’t do its job and the Texans were left shivering in their homes without power,” Abbott said. “ERCOT executives have assured that Texas’ power infrastructure is prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances have proven woefully false.”
Abbot declared ERCOT reform a top priority last week, urging the legislature to investigate the energy grid service.
“This is unacceptable,” he said. “The review of ERCOT’s preparations and decisions is an urgent element so that we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions.”
More than 3 million people and businesses were left without power after a major winter cold front swept through Texas last week, leaving Texans without power in sub-zero temperatures. Residents have struggled to stay warm, and the lack of heating has frozen pipes, contributing to a water crisis in the state.
ERCOT, which oversees about 90% of Texas’ power generation, cited frozen equipment for the loss of production of its natural gas and some renewable energy sources.
Even though Texas is one of the largest producers and consumers of energy in the country, it is not federally regulated because it depends on its own energy grid. Critics said the lack of oversight allowed the state to shirk its responsibilities under federal requirements that would have better prepared the energy grid for winter conditions.
This is a developing story; please come back for updates.