Four board members of ERCOT, Texas’s grid power operator, have resigned, following revelations that they lived out of state.
ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is responsible for managing the flow of electricity to the homes of over 26 million residents of the state. The state faced a bout of cold weather and snow last week, sparking huge blackouts and leading to many Texans “shivering in their homes without power,” along with claiming the lives of dozens of residents.
ERCOT came under severe scrutiny for the blackouts, especially when it was revealed that four members of the board, including chairwoman Sally Talberg and recently elected vice chair Peter Cramton, did not even live in the state.
In a letter, the four board members said that they had “noted concerns about out-of-state leadership” of ERCOT. “To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions,” the four members will be resigning from the board “effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday.”
“We want to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week,” they added. Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency.”
Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, welcomed the resignation of the board members, slamming their “total failure” and lack of preparedness:
When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false. The State of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong, and we will ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated.
Jeff Leach, a member of the Texas House of Representatives, called the resignations “a good and necessary step,” and plans to file legislation in the chamber mandating all future members of ERCOT to live within the state itself.