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Five Board Members Resign From Texas Electric Grid Operator After Catastrophic Outages

In a letter, the board members acknowledged “the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week.”

Video source: YouTube, ERCOTISO

Five board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) – the non-profit entity that operates the electric grid that covers 90% of the state – intend to resign after last week’s blackouts left millions of people without electricity during a historic cold snap.

Board Chairwoman Sally Talberg and Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, along with board members Terry Bulger and Raymond Hepper issued a joint statement announcing their plan to step down at a meeting Wednesday, according to a filing with the Texas Public Utility Commission. 
The board members acknowledged “the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week” and said their decision to resign was prompted by concerns about their out-of-state residency. 

"With the right follow through, Texas can lead the nation in investing 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 said. "We want what is best for ERCOT and Texas."

A fifth board member, Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, also resigned in a separate letter, while Craig Ivey withdrew his petition to fill a vacant board seat.

ERCOT has come under fire for its handling of widespread blackouts that left millions of households without power and water as the state faced freezing temperatures, ice and snow last week. The board faced even more criticism following media reports that some of its members did not reside in the state.  

The resignation announcement follows the filing of a class-action lawsuit against ERCOT on behalf of customers who lost their lights, heat and water during the week of February 14.

Filed Tuesday in Texas, the suit alleges that ERCOT “utterly failed” to plan for cold weather despite receiving warnings that an impending winter storm could jeopardize the integrity of its electric network. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said he “welcomed” the resignations, saying in a statement, “When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false.”

“The State of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong, and we will ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated,” Abbott said.

ERCOT is controlled by a 16-member board but overseen by the Texas Public Utility Commission. The vacancies created by the resignations will not be immediately filled, according to The Texas Tribune.


Source: Equities News