After receiving a blizzard of backlash over the performance of the Texas electric grid during the recent winter storm, several board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the state’s grid, have sent a letter announcing their intent to resign.
The letter, dated February 23, was signed four board members, including the board’s chair, Sally Tallberg, and vice chair, Peter Cramton. The other two board members were Terry Bulger and Raymond Hepper. Board member Vanessa Anesetti-Parra has reportedly resigned as well.
“We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board effective effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday, February 24, 2021,” the letter states.
The resignations will be effective the day before the Texas House is set to hold a joint committee hearing to investigate ERCOT’s actions leading up to the historic snowstorm and widespread power outages.
Governor Greg Abbott welcomed the resignations in a statement:
“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 the Texas power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false. The lack of transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations. 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.”
While the board’s actions handling the grid during the crisis have come under scrutiny, the revelation that five of the board’s 15 members live outside the state has caused widespread outrage. Board members’ names were removed from the website following the storm, allegedly because they were receiving death threats.
Tallberg, the board chair, lives is Michigan. Cramton, the vice chair, is based in Del Mar, California, according to his Linkedin profile, however, he teaches economics at the University of Cologne in Germany and the University of Maryland. Board members Bulger and Hepper live in Wheaton, Illinois, and Auburn, Main, respectively, while Anesetti-Parra is from Toronto, Canada.
Additionally, Craig Ivey, of Virginia, who was under consideration to fill a vacant position on ERCOT’s board, withdrew his application.
ERCOT issued a brief statement following the resignations:
“We look forward to working with the Texas Legislature, and we thank the outgoing board members for their service.”