Four ERCOT members resigned due to a power outage in Texas

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Four board members of Texas Electric Electric’s board of trust, which manages and operates the electricity grid that covers most of Texas, will resign on Wednesday, the utility committee said in a statement.

Sally Talberg, Chairman of the Board; Peter Cramton, Vice President; Terry Bulger, President of Finance and Audit; and, according to the announcement, Raymond Hepper, chairman of the Human Resources and Governance Committee, will resign at the end of Wednesday morning meeting of the ERCOT board. All four live outside the state.

Craig Ivey, who also lives outside of Texas, was scheduled to fill the vacancy but withdrew his application, according to the announcement.

ERCOT board members came under fire last week when it was reported that some board members were not resident in the state. ERCOT officials said at a press conference last week that they had removed personal information about the directors from their website because board members had experienced harassment.

The board was also criticized for dealing with last week’s massive power outage in a winter storm that claimed dozens of Texas lives. More than 4.5 million customers were without electricity at one point last week.

Talberg, a former state utility regulator who served on the Michigan Civil Service Commission from 2013 to 2020, lives in Michigan. Talberg has served on various state, regional and national bodies and committees dealing with electricity, natural gas, oil, infrastructure and telecommunications issues. Cramton, a professor of economics at the University of Cologne and Maryland, lives in Germany. Cramton focused his research on the electricity and financial markets. He has advised a number of governments and has been a member of the ERCOT Board since 2015.

Bulger has worked in the banking sector for 35 years, including various positions at ABN AMRO Bank in Canada, Europe and the United States, living in Wheaton, Illinois. Hepper, a former U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit, retired in 2018 to work for a network operator that manages the six-state New England electrical system and wholesale markets.

ERCOT representatives did not respond to calls for comments, but said in a statement, “We are pleased to be working with the Texas legislature and thank the outgoing board members for their service.”

Fifteen directors work on ERCOT’s board of directors, including four independent directors, whose resignations will take effect at the end of Wednesday’s meeting. Vacancies are not filled immediately.

In order for ERCOT to maintain its certification as an independent body, the Management Board, which should have 16 members, should have five members who are completely unrelated to “any market segment”. Ivey would have been the fifth member.

“Both the chairman of the board, the vice-chairman of the board and the chairman of the committee will be vacant,” the statement submitted by the lawyers representing ERCOT states.