Four ERCOT board members to resign after catastrophic Texas blackouts during winter storm

Four members of the board at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, intend to resign following last week’s blackouts that left millions in the state without power amid brutal winter weather.

The board chairwoman, vice chairman, and two other members of the ERCOT board issued a joint statement announcing their intention to resign at a meeting on 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.

ERCOT did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

The letter was signed by Board Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger, and Human Resources and Governance Committee Chairman Raymond Hepper.

In the letter, the four members said that they have heard the concerns regarding “out-of-state” board leadership and want to acknowledge the “pain and suffering” of Texans during the past week.

“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.”

A fifth person, Craig Ivey, withdrew his petition to fill a vacant spot on the board in a letter acknowledging that he too resides outside the state of Texas, according to the filing. Ivey called Texas a state with a “rich history” where the people are “proud, independent, and resilient” in his withdrawal notice.

“I have every confidence that Texas and ERCOT will emerge from this crisis better than before,” Ivey’s letter said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he “welcomed” the resignations of the ERCOT board members in a statement Tuesday.

“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. “ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false.”

Abbot declared reform of ERCOT a top priority last week, urging the Legislature to investigate the energy grid service.

“This is unacceptable,” Abbot said. “Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and find long-term solutions.”

More than 3 million were left without power after a major winter cold front swept the Southern state last week, leaving Texans without power in below freezing temperatures. Residents across the state struggled to stay warm and the lack of heating led to frozen pipes, contributing to an ongoing water crisis in the state.

ERCOT, which oversees about 90 percent of Texas’ energy production, cited frozen equipment for the loss of output from its natural gas and some renewable energy sources.

Though Texas is one of the largest energy producers and consumers in the country, the state is not subject to federal regulations because it relies on its own energy grid. Critics have said that this lack of oversight allowed the state to shirk federal requirements that would have better prepared the energy grid for winter weather.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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