The CEO of the Texas power operator was fired from his post on Wednesday night amid numerous calls for his resignation following last month’s deadly power outages.
The Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas voted to remove Bill Magness from his post, issuing “60 days notice of termination” to the embattled executive.
His layoff is the latest in a series of departures from the regulatory agency after winter storms last month crippled the state’s electricity supply chain and left more than 4 million people without power, some for days.
Magness will continue to serve as President and CEO during the transition period and “will work with state leaders and regulators on potential reforms of ERCOT,” the board said in a statement.
The leaders of the ERCOT and the state utilities commission have been criticized for their handling of the electricity crisis. The Public Utility Commission is the regulatory body that oversees ERCOT.
Five members of the ERCOT board resigned in February after public criticism of their out-of-state residency, including the chairman and vice chairman of the board. Two other board members subsequently tendered their resignations. DeAnn Walker, president of the Public Services Commission, resigned from her post on Monday.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who previously called on Magness and Walker to step down, celebrated the news of Magness’ termination.
“Good news – now they’re both gone,” Patrick said in a tweet. “Then – one of my 31 main priorities – reforming ERCOT and fixing what has gone wrong.”
Magness earned more than $ 876,000 in salary and other compensation in 2019, the Associated Press reported.
At the Texas Capitol last week, lawmakers investigating blackouts imposed on Magness for his handling of the storm. During the hours of testimony, Magness defended actions that he said have kept intact the network that serves most of Texas’ 30 million people.
Magness said controlled blackouts were the only way to prevent an even more serious power outage in Texas.
“If we hadn’t acted, it wouldn’t have been that we would have waited a few days and seen what would happen,” Magness said previously. “It was seconds and minutes, given the amount of production coming out of the system as demand increased further.
Learn more about power outages in Texas:
Congressional panel opens investigation into ERCOT preparedness for winter storm
Texas electricity supplier files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after devastating winter storm and blackout
Fact Check: ERCOT, not Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, called for environmental limits to be bypassed
Contributor: John C. Moritz, USA TODAY Network; Associated press