Word emerged Wednesday evening that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is firing its embattled CEO, Bill Magness, in the wake of February’s massive power outage. An email from ERCOT’s governmental relations manager described the board decision as “pursuant to the employment agreement,” explaining the termination would be effective in 60 days.
“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,” wrote former State Rep. Rob Orr, the nonprofit power grid manager’s lobbyist.
ERCOT and Magness have been at the center of public ire following the power outage that plunged millions of Texans into the dark and cold during a severe winter storm. Magness’ dismissal comes a week after out-of-state board members—including the chairman and vice chairman—resigned from the nonprofit entity.
ERCOT manages the state’s electric grid, with oversight from the state legislature and the gubernatorially appointed Public Utility Commission. Earlier this week the PUC chair, DeAnn Walker, resigned her post.
At a Senate hearing last week, Magness avoided taking any blame, instead saying ERCOT’s actions were largely taken to avoid a catastrophic failure of the power grid that would have left customers without power for weeks.
The ERCOT board will begin “an immediate search for a new President and CEO,” wrote Orr in the Wednesday night email.
[Updated to correct a misspelling and add links.]