Four members of ERCOT, Texas’ power grid operator, are expected to resign Wednesday following a winter storm that left millions of Texans without power in harsh and freezing conditions last week.
NBC News reports that the board chairwoman and vice chairman of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, including two other board members, released a joint statement issued detailing “their intention to resign at a meeting Wednesday, according to a filing with the Texas Public Utility Commission.”
“To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday, February 24, 2021,” the statement said.
The letter was signed by Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger and Human Resources, and Governance Committee Chairman Raymond Hepper.
“With the right follow through, Texas can lead the nation in investing in infrastructure and emergency preparedness to withstand the effects of severe weather events — whether in the form of flooding, drought, extreme temperatures, or hurricanes,” the letter said. “We want what is best for ERCOT and Texas.”
The four members also said in the letter that they have heard the concerns about “out-of-state” leadership on the board and want to acknowledge Texans’ “pain and suffering” over the past week.
A fifth person, Craig Ivey, also wrote a letter removing his petition to fill an open spot on the board, acknowledging that he also does not live in the state of Texas, according to the filing. Ivey said in his notice that Texas is a state with a “rich history” where the people are “proud, independent, and resilient.”
“I have every confidence that Texas and ERCOT will emerge from this crisis better than before,” Ivey’s letter said.
More than 3 million people and businesses reportedly went without power in Texas last week after a massive cold front hit the state, leaving citizens in below-freezing temperatures that led to frozen pipes and a water crisis.
Last week, The Daily Wire reported that the whole city of Austin, Texas, was under a boil water notice, adding:
Shortages have also been affecting the Texas energy grid, which left millions of Texans without power amidst the wave of cold weather. In response to calls to conserve energy, the Texas Capitol has gone dark, with the exception of certain safety lights, according to the local news outlet KXAN.
The National Weather Service forecasts that snow and ice will continue to affect many areas of the U.S. already struggling through Friday night. Currently, more than 100 million people are under some sort of winter-related National Weather Service advisory, notes The Washington Post.
ERCOT oversees about 90 percent of the energy production in Texas and is reportedly not subject to federal regulations because it has its own energy grid.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said last week that reforming ERCOT is a top priority, and he urged the Legislature to investigate ERCOT.
“When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false.”
The governor added that he “welcomed” the resignations, saying, “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.”