Earlier this week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas called an emergency meeting. These are dire times in the wake of the recent disaster that this state was forced to suffer through. In fact, four board members and one director have already resigned from their posts and rightfully so. This is the sort of screw up that should cost many their jobs.
The aforementioned resignations took place after the meeting and Greg Abbott said that he welcomed them. The Public Utility Commission oversees the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. All of the energy sources that failed completely during the catastrophic storm have ERCOT in serious hot water. No one is looking to sweep this under the rug.
There’s just one issue with the resignations. None of the board members in question actually reside in the state of Texas. How effective are these decisions going to be when the members are not in the state? This simple fact has raised a wide range of questions in the aftermath of the storm and makes us wonder if this was always destined to happen.
If all of the board members live out of state, this does not make life very easy for the residents who are trapped in igloos when the weather takes a turn for the worse. The Houston Chronicle has more about this developing story.
“Chair Sally Talberg, vice-chair Peter Cramton, and board members Raymond Hepper, Terry Bulger and Vanessa Anesetti-Parra will step down after an emergency meeting Wednesday, according to the Public Utility Commission, which oversees the grid manager.
Among the 15 ERCOT board members, Bulger oversees the finance and audit committee and Hepper chairs the human resources and governance committee. Craig S. Ivey, who was set to fill the open 16th seat on ERCOT’s board is withdrawing his candidacy, the PUC said.
“We look forward to working with the Texas Legislature, and we thank the outgoing Board Members for their service,” ERCOT said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
The Chronicle and other local outlets are definitely more well equipped to tell this story than most non Texans. They are offering additional background on the board members that have stepped down. “Talberg lives in Michigan and joined ERCOT’s board in January 2020 and was a former Michigan utility regulator. Before her seven years on the Michigan Public Service Commission, Talberg was a senior consultant at Public Sector Consultants and an advisor to the PUC. She has a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas, according to ERCOT’s website.
Cramton, of Del Mar, Calif., joined ERCOT’s board in October 2015. He is an economics professor at the University of Maryland and the University of Cologne. He studied electricity market design and serves as an economist and advisor to startups in finance, insurance and communications.
Bulger, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, according to ERCOT, has more than 35 years of experience in banking. Abbott promised a state investigation of ERCOT to “ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated.”
Hepper, who lives in Lewiston, Maine, according to his LinkedIn profile, was the former general counsel for ISO New England, which operates the electric grid and wholesale markets across six states in the Northeast.
Anesetti-Parra, who lives in Ontario, Canada, is vice president of regulatory and compliance for Canada-based Just Energy. She has more than 19 years of experience in retail energy, according to her LinkedIn profile,” the newspaper shares.
Why are so few talking about the PUC? They are THE oversight committee for ERCOT. Any failure of ERCOT is a failure of the PUC. Any fix will likely need to start with the PUC rules, oversight etc. #txlege.
— James Frank (@RepJamesFrank) February 21, 2021
This story is not going to be over anytime soon. Lawsuits will be filed and the Public Utilities Commission is going to be held responsible for what has taken place. Millions of Texans are still reeling from all of the damage that was caused during the storm. Now that the state legislature is currently in session, we wait to see what will be done (if anything at all) by Governor Abbott. No one should be holding their breath there.