Texas power grid CEO fired after deadly February blackouts

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Texas’ power grid supervisor was fired Wednesday amid rising requires his ouster following February’s deadly blackouts that left tens of millions of individuals with out electrical energy and warmth for days in subfreezing temperatures.

Bill Magness, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, turns into the second senior official to depart within the wake of one of many worst blackouts in US historical past. The state’s prime utility regulator resigned Monday.

Magness was given a two-month termination discover by ERCOT’s board in a gathering Wednesday night time.

”During this transition interval, Bill will proceed to function President and CEO and work with state leaders and regulators on potential reforms to ERCOT,” the organisation mentioned in an announcement.

Magness, who made greater than USD 876,000 in wage and different compensation in 2019, was the goal of a lot of the outrage over the blackouts that started February 15 when a winter storm plunged temperatures into single digits throughout Texas, inflicting skyrocketing demand for electrical energy to warmth houses.

Grid operators unplugged greater than 4 million prospects because the system buckled, which Magness has mentioned was essential to avert an much more catastrophic blackout that might have lasted months.

But the power didn’t flip again on for days for tens of millions of residents, and the extended outages rapidly escalated to a disaster of tragic proportions, as individuals making an attempt to maintain heat died of carbon monoxide poisoning and others froze to loss of life. The storm and ensuing blackouts have been blamed for greater than 40 deaths in Texas, however the full toll is probably not identified for months.

At the Texas Capitol final week, lawmakers investigating the outages laid into Magness for his dealing with of the storm.

Over hours of testimony, Magness defended actions that he mentioned saved the grid that serves most of Texas’ 30 million residents intact.

“It worked from keeping us (from) going into a blackout that we’d still be in today, that’s why we did it,” Magness mentioned final Thursday. “Now it didn’t work for people’s lives, but it worked to preserve the integrity of the system.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has accused ERCOT of deceptive the state in regards to the readiness of the grid, inserting blame for the outages nearly singularly on the grid operators. His outrage has not prolonged to the state’s Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT and is led by Abbott appointees.

But the fee has additionally more and more come below fireplace. Chairwoman DeAnn Walker resigned after struggling in two prolonged appearances earlier than lawmakers following the blackouts, however mentioned others must also settle for duty for the outages.

At least six ERCOT board members have stepped down within the aftermath of the blackouts. Many of them lived out of state, a indisputable fact that solely intensified anger towards ERCOT because the disaster unfolded.

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