After the absolute failure that led to several deaths and people being without power during a severe winter storm, a prominent CEO has been terminated.
On the evening of March 3, just a few weeks after the deadly winter storm that wreaked havoc on Texas‘ electric grid, the board of directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) met in a closed session. In the session, the board decided to give CEO Bill Magness a 60 days’ termination notice, according to a statement released by ERCOT.
“The ERCOT Board of Directors met this evening and directed the Corporate Secretary to exercise the 60 days’ termination notice to ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness pursuant to the employment agreement with ERCOT. During this transition period, Bill will continue to serve as President and CEO and work with state leaders and regulators on potential reforms to ERCOT. The ERCOT Board is expected to begin an immediate search for a new President and CEO, and will continue to discuss the transition plan at future meetings during this time period,” the statement reads.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick predicted this move earlier in the day, stating in an interview that Magness was “going to be out one way or the other.”
Response from Texas Leadership
After the news broke, Patrick took to Twitter to discuss Magness’ firing, and the future of ERCOT.
“2 days ago, I called on ERCOT and PUC leaders to resign. Good news – now they are both gone. Next — one of my top 31 priorities — reforming ERCOT and fixing what went wrong,” he wrote.
2 days ago, I called on ERCOT and PUC leaders to resign. Good news – now they are both gone. Next — one of my top 31 priorities — reforming ERCOT and fixing what went wrong. #txlege https://t.co/P6Qzb6PGiK
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) March 4, 2021
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement about Magness’ termination on Twitter.
“ERCOT’s decision to oust CEO Bill Magness signals accountability for the disaster that swept through our state two weeks ago. No Texan should have been left without power for long periods in such dire circumstances. This is a solid step toward justice for Texans and offers the opportunity for new leadership that can more efficiently prepare and direct our state’s power resources when dangerous weather strikes,” Paxton’s statement read.
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) March 4, 2021
DeAnn Walker, Texas’ Public Utility Commission Chairman, resigned from her position on March 1, noting that it was “in the best interest of this great State of Texas.” Governor Greg Abbott has already named her replacement: Arthur D’Andrea, of Austin, Texas.
On February 24, following a board meeting, ERCOT announced the resignation of four of its board members. A fifth board member submitted her resignation separately. Records show that all of the members who resigned lived outside Texas.
A congressional subcommittee has opened an inquiry into ERCOT’s handling of the power grid during the severe winter weather. Far-left Representative Ro Khanna, of California, sent a letter to Magness on March 3 requesting “information and documents regarding [ERCOT’s] lack of preparation.”
According to a local news outlet, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick “said that after almost 24 hours of testimony in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee’s investigation of the power outages, including nine hours from Walker and Magness, he believes it is clear neither adequately addressed the challenges of the winter storms. “