Who are ERCOT's board of directors? Gov Greg Abbott orders probe into Texas power grid operator after snowstorm

Five of the fifteen officials serving on ERCOT's board of directors are non-natives of the state and stay in Toronto, Illinois, Maine or even Germany

                            Who are ERCOT's board of directors? Gov Greg Abbott orders probe into Texas power grid operator after snowstorm
Over 4.3 million people are now out of power in snow-covered Texas (Twitter/Natalie Haddad)

As Texas reels from a deadly snowstorm, ERCOT, the state's power grid operator that serves over 26 million Texans, is aiming to avoid a complete blackout by cutting down the power supply to consumers.

As the agency announced that the power outages would continue till the end of the week, residents did not find it acceptable to live in the dark inside freezing homes for such a long time, especially during a snowstorm situation. Over 4.3 million people are now out of power in Texas. They have erupted in virtual protests and outrage against ERCOT all over the Internet. 


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Who are ERCOT's Board of Directors?

Amid the crisis situation, it has come to light that five of the fifteen officials serving on ERCOT's (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas) board of directors are non-natives of the state itself. The five members, who do not live in Texas, include even the chairwoman and the vice-chairman reported Austin American Statesman


As per the ERCOT official website, chairwoman Sally Talberg, who was a former state utility regulator, is now a resident of Michigan. Peter Cramton, a professor of economics at the University of Cologne in Germany and at the University of Maryland, serves as the vice-chairman of ERCOT, while living in Del Mar, California - as per his LinkedIn profile.

Board members Vanessa Anesetti-Parra is a resident of Toronto at present. She is the vice president of regulatory and compliance at Just Energy. Among the other two board members, who reside out of Texas, Terry Bulger has a career as a banking professional - completely different from the energy and electrical sector. He lives in Wheaton, a suburb in Chicago, Illinois. 


Raymond Hopper is another non-native member who lives in Auburn, Maine. He is a retiree from ISO New England which operates the electrical system in six states.

Some of the other members include Terry Bulger, Mark Carpenter, Lori Cobos, Keith Emery and Nick Fehrenbach – some of whom do not even remotely hail from a background in energy and power segment. 

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness has revealed that they are unsure how long the power outages will last. 

"We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” he said in a statement, reported Dallas News

However, he added that an indefinite blackout, in place of smaller power outages could leave Texas without power for an indefinite amount of time, possibly a month even.


Governor Gregg Abbott orders investigation

Amid the power and climate crisis plaguing Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has ordered an investigation into ERCOT, demanding immediate transparency about the situation from them. The Republican governor released an official statement on Twitter about the same. 

Greg Abbott (Getty Images)

"We are ordering an investigation into ERCOT and immediate transparency by ERCOT," he tweeted. While his decision was lauded by many,  a few others backfired the blame towards him, for deregulating and privatizing ERCOT, and thereby hampering its operational efficiency.



Another user agreed with Abbott's decision terming ERCOT's unreliable actions as 'unacceptable'. Another resident blamed inefficient planning as the reason for the present crisis. 
"It’s not an issue with the turbines outright. Places with much colder climates than Texas use wind turbines with no issues. Texas has consistently refused to weatherize their energy infrastructure because “it doesn’t get cold here”. This is the cost of not planning ahead," they wrote.