AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – State Representative Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas has added his name to a list of lawmakers calling on the Chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, DeAnn Walker, to resign.
The Commission regulates the state’s electric grid operator, ERCOT, which has come under repeated fire for the widespread power outages during last week’s severe winter storms that left millions of Texans without electricity, heat, and water.READ MORE: Brooklyn Nets Center, Texas-Born LaMarcus Aldridge Retires From NBA After Experiencing Irregular Heartbeat
In a statement Friday night, Anchia said, “After two days of testimony, it is clear to me that there was a dereliction of duty and that the people of Texas deserve nothing less than for Commissioner Walker to resign immediately. Her inability to even muster an apology to Texans who endured freezing temperatures without heat or power and resulted in loss of life is inexcusable.”
Anchia, joined Republican legislators Jeff Leach of Plano and Jared Patterson of Frisco and Democratic lawmakers Chris Turner of Grand Prairie and Armando Walle of Houston.
On Thursday, Walker testified before both the Senate and House committees.
She said before the storms arrived, she sounded the alarm they would be bad.
Many in the energy industry have testified during the hearings that the entire energy sector failed the state.READ MORE: AAA: Gasoline Prices In Texas Are Lower Than Any Other State In The Country
Walker and the Public Utility Commission’s two other commissioners, Arthur D’Andrea and Shelly Botkin, were appointed by Governor Greg Abbott and answer to him.
On Thursday night, State Representative John Smithee, R-Amarillo criticized Walker for not doing a good enough job making sure ERCOT was prepared for the severe storms.
“It looks to me like we just got caught flat-footed and unprepared here. As a result, there’s a lot of human suffering going on. Someone was sleeping at the switch. There’s got to be some kind of crisis management plan in place.”
In response, Walker said, “Those are the operational plans for such events and ERCOT cararies those out and again you’re right, it’s under our direction and supervision, but they are the ones that carry those emergency type plans.”
Smithee said, “It’s obvious in retrospect those emergency plans were not sufficient to handle this crisis, correct?”
Walker answered, “Yes sir.”
In a statement Friday afternoon, the Commission’s Director of External Affairs, Andrew Barlow said, “Our commissioners are all singularly focused on working with the Legislature to discover the causes of this disaster and identify solutions to its impacts across the state.”MORE NEWS: Burleson Police Officer Joshua Lott Shot During Traffic Stop Awarded In Past For Saving 2 Lives
Also Friday, another ERCOT Board Member, Clifton Karnei, resigned, making him the eighth person affiliated with the board to quit.