AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Five leaders of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), including the board chairman and board vice chairman, are resigning effective Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Four of them, who all live outside of Texas, co-signed a resignation letter.
Later Tuesday, it was announced a fifth board member was resigning, Wednesday as well.
A sixth person who was planning to fill a board seat, has withdrawn as a candidate.
The resignations follow power outages that left millions of Texans in the cold for days during one of coldest winter blasts in decades.
According to a filing on Tuesday, Feb. 23, “ERCOT hereby provides notice that all four Unaffiliated Directors currently serving on the ERCOT Board – Sally Talberg (Board Chairman), Peter Cramton (Board Vice Chairman), Terry Bulger (Finance and Audit Committee Chairman) and Raymond Hepper (Human Resources and Governance Committee Chairman) – are resigning, effective upon the adjournment of the February 24, 2021… ERCOT further notifies the Commissioners that, effective February 23, 2021, Craig S. Ivey, whose application intended to fill the sole prior Unaffiliated Director vacancy on the Board, has withdrawn as an Unaffiliated Director candidate.”
In the combined resignation letter to fellow board members, the board executives said, “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.”
They went on to address complaints about their out-of-state leadership.
“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.”
A fifth board member, Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, Market Segment Director for the Independent Retail Electric Provider Market Segment, is also resigning from the Board, effective upon the adjournment of the February 24 ERCOT Urgent Board Meeting by Teleconference.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement on the resignation of the board members, including the chairman and vice-chairman:
“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.”
Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32) released the following statement on the resignations:
“This is a first step towards holding those responsible for this crisis to account but it does not absolve them, or state leaders, from answering questions and providing the clarity on their failure that Texans deserve. There must be a full investigation into ERCOT’s and our state’s failure to prepare for the storm and failure to communicate with the public.”
ERCOT said in a statement, “We look forward to working with the Texas Legislature, and we thank the outgoing Board Members for their service.”
On Monday, 16 Texas Mayors, including several from North Texas, wrote a letter to ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness demanding answers for the power outags.
In the letter, the mayors called out the “protocols and policies” set forth by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which the mayors said “did not see to take into consideration exposure to sustained freezing temperatures.”