After a devastating winter storm left over 4 million Texans cut off from electricity, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has come under intense criticism for its handling of the crisis. Five members of the board of directors have since resigned from their positions.
The organization has come under fire for its failed handling of the storm and its appointment of non-Texans as board members. On top of lengthy blackouts amid sub-freezing temperatures, customers have since reported exorbitantly high electricity bills. Last week, the wholesale price of electricity spiked by more than 10,000% and Texans reported energy bills of up to $17,000.
In a joint resignation letter, board Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton and members Terry Bulger and Raymond Hepper announced their resignation on Wednesday. and Vanessa Anesetti-Parra did not sign the joint letter, but also gave notice of her resignation. All five live out-of-state.
“We want to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week. 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,” the letter reads. “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.”
After ordering an investigation into ERCOT earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott (TX-R) said he welcomed the resignations.
“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. “ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false. The lack of preparedness and 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.”