AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A Texas grid manager was fired on Wednesday amid growing calls for his dismissal following deadly power outages in February that left millions without electricity or heat for days in low frosts.
Texas Electrical Safety Board CEO Bill Magens becomes the second senior official to leave with one of the worst power outages in US history. The state utility regulator resigned on Monday.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, the ERGOT board gave Magness a two-month notice period.
“During this transition period, Bill will continue to serve as President տնօրեն Executive Director: work with heads of state և regulators on possible ERCOT reforms,” the organization said in a statement.
With a salary of more than $ 876,000 in 2019 and other compensation, the “Magic” became the target of outrage on the outages that began on February 15, when a winter storm pushed the temperature across Texas to one mark, causing a sharp rise in electricity heating. Home Rid operators cut off more than 4 million customers as the system crashed, which Magness said was necessary to prevent even more catastrophic disruptions that could take months.
Electricity for millions of people did not return for several days, and “long-term” outages quickly escalated into a tragic crisis as people tried to warm up by dying of carbon dioxide poisoning while others froze. More than 40 deaths in Texas have been blamed for the storm and subsequent atmospheric outages, but the full death toll may not be known for months.
Lawmakers in the Texas Capitol last week investigated storm cuts in Magnesia.
Witnessing for hours, Magens defended the actions he said kept the network, which serves most of Texas’s 30 million people, intact.
“It worked to keep us out of the darkness we were in today, that’s why we did it,” Magens said last Thursday. “Now it has not worked for people’s lives, but it has worked to maintain the integrity of the system.”
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has accused ERCOT of misleading the state about network readiness by blaming unique network operators for the disruptions. His frustration did not extend to the state Public Utilities Commission, which oversees ERCOT, which is chaired by Abbott’s appointees.
But the commission is also being criticized more and more often. President Dean Ann Walker resigned after giving two lengthy speeches to lawmakers after his break-up, but said others should also accept responsibility for the interruptions.
At least six ERCOT board members resigned following the cuts. Many of them lived outside the state, a fact that only intensified their anger at ERCOT as the crisis unfolded.