HOUSTON – ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness discussed what happened during the extreme cold weather event during a Board of Directors meeting Wednesday morning after an announcement that six board officials of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas are resigning.
The resignation of Randal Miller, the ERCOT board’s alternate for the Independent Retail Electric Provider Segment, was announced at the start of the emergency meeting.
Miller is the latest in a string of board resignations that are effective Wednesday.
According to a Tuesday filing with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the board’s Chairman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger, Human Resources and Governance Committee Chairman Raymond Hepper and Director for the Independent Retail Electric Provider Market Segment Vanessa Anesetti-Parra are also resigning.
Craig Ivey, who had applied to fill a vacancy on the board, has withdrawn his application, according to the filing.
ERCOT is the agency charged with managing most of the power grid in Texas. It’s also the agency that mandated blackouts that left millions of Texans in the dark and cold for days during last week’s winter storm.
In a letter signed by Talberg, Cramton, Bulger and Hepper, the group said they are resigning after recent concerns about out-of-state ERCOT board members. The full text of the letter is below:
“We want to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week. Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency.
“We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
“Before we step aside, we are beginning the process of reviewing this extreme cold weather event and resulting power crisis. 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. We want what is best for ERCOT and Texas.
“We want to thank Bill Magness and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication. The organization is filled with highly specialized, dedicated professionals who bring decades of experience to Texas. We have only one thing to ask those of you who remain on the board: please continue to recognize the fine people at ERCOT and what they do for Texas every day.
“Thank you for your leadership and continuing service on the board and the opportunity to serve Texas.”
Ivey echoed similar concerns in his letter to the PUC.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a written statement that he welcomes the resignation. His entire statement is below:
“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 lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations. 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.”
Lawmakers have already announced an investigation of the agency.
Lawsuits have also been filed against the agency.