Following a closed door ERCOT board meeting Wednesday night, CEO Bill Magness has been given a 60-day termination notice. The move comes in the aftermath of the disastrous winter storm that hit Texas on Feb 15 causing power outages across much of the state leaving millions without power, heat and running water for days in the freezing cold. Also on the chopping block is Texas Public Utility Commission, Chairwoman DeAnn Walker, who was forced to resigned after lawmakers heaped intense criticism on her for blaming ERCOT for the outage and doing little to nothing to prepared in advance, and a poor response afterwards.
During long hearings held by the Texas legislature, lawmakers repeatedly blamed ERCOT for failing to have accurately predict the amount of power Texans would need, for failing to alert the state and the public in advance of possible outages so people could make preparations themselves, and for failing to winterize despite two previous investigative reports following two previous winter storms that also knocked out power due to a winter storm. During the hearing Magness reveled he earns $803,000 annually.
DeAnn Walker said in testimony that she disagrees with the opinions of lawmakers because the Texas legislature has not given the PUC the ability to force ERCOT or power generation plants to winterize, leaving the PUC with very limited options to help. Most of the PUC’s power is in controlling rates and general policies.