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Four board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the entity that manages and operates the power grid that covers much of Texas, will resign on Wednesday, according to a notice to the Public Utility Commission.
Sally Talberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors; Peter Cramton, vice-president; Terry Bulger, President of Finance and Audit; and Raymond Hepper, chairman of the human resources and governance committee, will resign following the ERCOT board meeting on Wednesday morning, according to the notice. All four live out of state.
Craig Ivey, who also lives outside of Texas, was due to fill a vacancy but withdrew his candidacy, according to the notice.
ERCOT board members were criticized last week when it was reported that some of the board members were not resident in the state. ERCOT officials, at a press conference last week, said they removed personal director information from its website because board members were harassed.
The board has also been criticized for its handling of last week’s mass blackout in a winter storm that claimed the lives of dozens of Texans. More than 4.5 million customers were without power at some point last week.
Talberg, a former state utilities regulator who served on the Michigan Public Utility Commission from 2013-2020, lives in Michigan. Talberg has served on various state, regional and national boards and committees dealing with issues of electricity, natural gas, oil, infrastructure and telecommunications. Cramton, professor of economics at the University of Cologne and the University of Maryland, lives in Germany. Cramton focused his research on electricity and financial markets. He has advised numerous governments and has served on the ERCOT board since 2015.
Bulger has worked in the banking industry for 35 years, including various positions at ABN AMRO Bank in Canada, Europe and the United States, and lives in Wheaton, Illinois. Hepper, a former litigation attorney for the US Department of Justice, retired in 2018 from his job for the grid operator which manages New England’s electricity system and wholesale markets in six states.
ERCOT representatives did not return calls for comment, but in a statement he said: “We look forward to working with the Texas Legislature, and we thank the outgoing Council members for their service. . “
Fifteen directors sit on ERCOT’s board of directors, including the four unaffiliated directors, whose resignation will be effective at the end of Wednesday’s meeting. Vacancies will not be filled immediately.
In order for ERCOT to maintain its certification as an independent organization, the board, which should be made up of 16 members, must include five who are not fully affiliated with “any market segment”. Ivey was reportedly the fifth unaffiliated member.
“The chairman of the board, the vice-chairman of the board and the two executive committee chairman positions will be vacant,” according to the opinion submitted by the lawyers representing ERCOT.