Staff and wire stories
Another political sufferer has fallen within the aftermath of Texas’ disastrous energy outages through the historic February freeze.
The board of administrators for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas canned CEO Bill Magness late Wednesday by a 6-1 vote. Magness’ firing follows the resignation of state Public Utilities Commission Chair DeAnn Walker earlier this week within the fallout over large energy outages which led to deaths, frozen pipes and greater than 50 GW in disrupted energy technology. At least one utility has already declared chapter.
Some, reminiscent of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (pictured), have positioned blame on the area’s electrical energy system management, reminiscent of ERCOT’s high brass. ERCOT is the system operator managing Texas’ deregulated, aggressive electrical supply system.
Others have pointed that what they referred to as lengthy festering issues within the state’s manner of dealing with its electrical energy capability. Prices can fluctuate wildly, sustaining capability isn’t rewarded and lots of vegetation weren’t correctly weatherized for the sub-zero temperatures, which shut down many types of power, together with gas-fired, coal-fired and utility-scale wind energy, in accordance with these stories.
Magness was given a two-month termination discover by ERCOT’s board in a gathering Wednesday night time. The transfer got here because the grid operator is now underneath investigation by the House Oversight Committee.
“During this transition interval, Bill will proceed to function President and CEO and work with state leaders and regulators on potential reforms to ERCOT,” the group mentioned in an announcement.
Magness, who made greater than $876,000 in wage and different compensation in 2019, was the goal of a lot of the outrage over the blackouts that started Feb. 15 when a winter storm plunged temperatures into single digits throughout Texas, inflicting skyrocketing demand for electrical energy to warmth houses. Grid operators unplugged greater than four million clients because the system buckled, which Magness has mentioned was essential to avert an much more catastrophic blackout that would have lasted months.
But the ability didn’t flip again on for days for tens of millions of residents, and the extended outages rapidly escalated to a disaster of tragic proportions, as individuals attempting to maintain heat died of carbon monoxide poisoning and others froze to demise. The storm and ensuing blackouts have been blamed for greater than 40 deaths in Texas, however the full toll might not be recognized for months.
At the Texas Capitol final week, lawmakers investigating the outages laid into Magness for his dealing with of the storm.
Over hours of testimony, Magness defended actions that he mentioned saved the grid that serves most of Texas’ 30 million residents intact.
“It labored from protecting us (from) going right into a blackout that we’d nonetheless be in at this time, that’s why we did it,” Magness mentioned final Thursday. “Now it didn’t work for individuals’s lives, however it labored to protect the integrity of the system.”
Republican Gov. Abbott has accused ERCOT of deceptive the state concerning the readiness of the grid, inserting blame for the outages virtually singularly on the grid operators. His outrage has not prolonged to the state’s Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT and is led by Abbott appointees reminiscent of Chair Walker.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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