State

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness Terminated by Board of Directors

The board of directors for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) approved the firing of its CEO, Bill Magness, Wednesday evening. The ERCOT board convened in executive session to vote on the measure.

The council said of the move, “The ERCOT Board of Directors met this evening and directed the Corporate Secretary to exercise the 60 days’ termination notice to [Magness] pursuant to the employment agreement with ERCOT.”

“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. The ERCOT Board is expected to begin an immediate search for a new President and CEO, and will continue to discuss the transition plan at future meetings during this time period.”

Magness joined ERCOT in 2010 and has served as CEO since 2016. He previously served as ERCOT’s general counsel.

His position with the organization lingered in jeopardy since the blackouts ravaged Texas two weeks ago. Earlier this week, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick called for the resignation both of Magness and then-Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chair DeAnn Walker.

Walker resigned shortly thereafter.

Last week, five members of the ERCOT board resigned in the fallout — all of which were roundly criticized for living outside of Texas. Another individual withdrew his name from contention for the remaining vacant board position.

Governor Abbott called specifically for “greater transparency” from ERCOT and then added reform to the grid operator to his list of emergency items.

Magness was grilled for hours last week, alongside Walker, by legislators inquiring about ERCOT’s response to the winter weather and proceeding blackouts that lasted days. The two came to a head when questioned about which regulatory body has ultimate oversight.

His firing is the last of the big dominoes to fall but more may come as the legislature digs further into the issue.

Magness earns over $800,000 in annual salary to oversee Texas’ electrical grid.

A copy of Magness’ employment contract has been requested by The Texan.

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