On Wednesday (March 3) the head of Texas’ electrical grid management corporation was fired. The board of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas gave its CEO Bill Magness a two-month termination notice following a deadly winter storm that left millions without power.
Magness is the second top official to leave ERCOT following the unprecedented blackout, after DeAnn Walker, chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission, resigned on Monday (March 1).
Magness’ termination comes as the House Oversight Committee investigates 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,” a statement released by the organization said.
According to a report by the Huffington Post, Magness said the decision to take power away from more than four million people was necessary, after demand for electricity surged when temperatures dropped February 15, to avoid a months-long blackout.
“It worked from keeping us [from] going into a blackout that we’d still be in today, that’s why we did it,” Magness said last Thursday (February 25) during a hearing at the Texas state Capitol. “Now it didn’t work for people’s lives, but it worked to preserve the integrity of the system,” he added.
Early reports have shown that the blackouts hit predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods first and for longer periods of time. Dozens of people died during the storm, struggling to stay warm as the temperatures inside their home dropped below freezing in many cases.
Initial reports also indicate ERCOT didn’t spend adequate time preparing for the storm, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims the grid manager misled state officials on their capacity to handle the storm.
Several other board members have stepped down from ERCOT as investigations continue and people work to rebuild their lives.
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