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Four members of Texas power operator’s board of directors resign amid deadly winter storm

Four members of the board of directors of the Texas power operator have announced their intention to resign following a severe winter storm that left millions of Texans without power for days and resulted in at least 31 deaths across the state. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has repeatedly blamed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) for the power outages and called for an investigation of the council.

In a letter to the board of directors, the resigning members expressed concerns about their “out-of-state leadership”. Three of the resigning board members live in other states and one in another country.

“We have noted recent concerns about the out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT,” the letter said. “To give state leaders a free hand in the future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are stepping down from the board following the end of the urgent board teleconference meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.”

The resigning members also said they wanted to “recognize the pain and suffering of Texans over the past week” and noted that many Texans still face the “tragic consequences of this emergency.”

Over the past several days of the past week, people across much of the state have been forced to deal with power outages and pipes bursting and flooding in sub-zero temperatures. Dozens of counties in the state have been declared Major disaster areas by President Biden, and millions of people were under orders to boil water.

Resigned board members include board chair Sally Talberg, who lives in Michigan; the vice-chairman of the board, Peter Crampton, who lives in Germany; the chairman of the finance and audit committee, Terry Bulger, who lives in Illinois; and the chairman of the human resources and governance committee, Raymond Hepper, who lives in Maine, according to company profiles and other biographical pages. The resignations will take effect after a 10 a.m. meeting on Wednesday.

Four members of Texas power operator’s board of directors resign amid deadly winter storm
Four members of the Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) have resigned due to backlash from the grid operator’s handling of winter storms last week. Board members include Chair of the Board Sally Talberg (top left), Vice Chair of the Board Peter Crampton (top right), Finance and Audit Committee Chair Terry Bulger (bottom in left) and the chairman of the governance committee Raymond Hepper (bottom right).

Talberg and Hepper joined the board on January 1. According to the Council’s website, the 16 members of the board oversee the operations of ERCOT.

“With the right monitoring, Texas can lead the country to invest in infrastructure and emergency preparedness to withstand the effects of severe weather events – whether in the form of flooding, drought, extreme temperatures or severe weather. hurricanes, “wrote the resigning members. “We want the best for ERCOT and Texas.”

ERCOT did not immediately respond to CBS News’s request for comment.

Craig Ivey, who was running for the board of directors, also canceled his candidacy, effective Tuesday, to “avoid becoming a distraction.” He currently resides in Florida, according to his biography on the Council’s website.

ERCOT, the network manager that provides 90% of Texas power, has been criticized for its handling of the winter storm. The operator said in November that it expected “sufficient installed generation capacity” during “peak demand” until the spring, although it noted that this announcement was based on what is “generally” occurring. every season and in extreme weather conditions.

Last week’s storm brought on some of the state’s coldest temperatures decades. Many officials, including Governor Greg Abbott, have questioned whether the company is well prepared. The Texas Public Utility Commission has launched an investigation into the power outages.

On Tuesday, Abbott said ERCOT’s “lack of preparation” for the storm made it “welcome resignations.”

“When Texans were in desperate need of power, ERCOT didn’t do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. ERCOT executives assured Texas’s electrical infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances were devastating. wrong, ”Abbott said. “The lack of preparation and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations.”

Abbot said the state would continue to investigate the council and “will find a full picture of what went wrong.”

“We will ensure that the disastrous events of the past week are never repeated,” he said.

Abbott has repeatedly blamed ERCOT over the past week – but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has rebuffed the accusation that ERCOT is fully responsible.

“For anyone who’s just trying to blame ERCOT, that’s not enough. It’s part of the story but it’s not the whole story,” Turner said Thursday on MSNBC. “ERCOT is an agency of the State, Texas … and what happened this week was a failure not only of ERCOT but also of state leaders, state officials, state senators who have not done enough to make the necessary structural changes. prevent what happened this week. “


Texas storm exposes problems with power grid

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