Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to date with the most important news from Texas.
The board, which oversees the Texas Reliability Board, the independent nonprofit that operates and operates the electricity grid that covers much of Texas, fired ERCOT CEO Bill Magnes on Wednesday night.
The board’s move to vote in favor of a “60-day notice of termination” came after they convened in a private executive session for more than three hours. The council barely discussed its decision after returning to the public session.
The decision is the latest in several recently announced departures aboard ERCOT, which also included Magness. Seven board members have resigned following public criticism that many board members did not reside in Texas.
The absence of Magness will leave the 1
On Monday, Lieutenant Dan Patrick called for both Magnesis and the PUC chairman to resign. DeAnn Walker, a former PUC chairwoman, resigned the same day. She was sharply criticized by lawmakers after largely blaming ERCOT’s power outages in Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott nominated Walker’s deputy on Wednesday.
Magness, who endured more than five hours of questioning by state senators on Thursday, has been criticized for preparing the organization for a winter storm. ERCOT underestimated the maximum amount of energy that will be required of homes, businesses and industry during a strong winter storm in its autumn forecasts, and overestimated the amount of electricity generated that will be available to the grid during such a storm.
When, in the early hours of February 15, huge amounts of energy began to be unlocked offline, far beyond expectations, ERCOT operators were forced to order utilities to start controlled outages to prevent the entire system from crashing. Lawmakers complained that the network’s manager had not done enough to warn state leaders or the public of the impending disaster.
In her testimony last week, Magness defended ERCOT’s management in the event of interruptions, telling lawmakers that if ERCOT operators did not do as they did, “the suffering we saw last week will be exacerbated” and Texans will likely be power for weeks. Magness also defends ERCOT as an entity that implements what state legislators and the PUC direct.
“The commission approves the policy, we implement it,” Magnes said.
Magness told lawmakers he earns $ 803,000 a year, which he says comes from Texans who pay their electricity bills.
Magness did not talk about the board’s decision, only that it abstained because it was involved. Magnes added that he did not attend a relevant discussion in the private executive session.
Walker, who testified after Magnes during the hearings with lawmakers, said he disagreed with his description of how much PUC oversaw ERCOT and said the committee “was not legally empowered by the legislature to require winter veterinarianisation ”, mainly concerns after the energy crisis were heightened by power plants that shut down offline. Many electric generators are not built to withstand extreme cold temperatures in Texas.
Magness has been with ERCOT for more than a decade and became its CEO and president in 2016, after serving as its chief advisor. He has previously held executive management positions in the public and private utilities sectors. A lawyer, he has also previously worked as a leading adviser on state and federal regulatory issues.