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Another Head Rolls After Texas Blackouts

ERCOT board votes to fire Bill Magness
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2021 7:51 AM CST
Texas Power Grid Chief Fired Over Massive Outages
In this Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 photo, Bill Magness, president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, testifies in Austin, Texas. On Friday, Feb. 26, 2021,   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Another head has rolled following the devastating blackouts blamed for dozens of deaths in Texas. Bill Magness was fired as president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's independent power grid, after an emergency board meeting Wednesday night, CNN reports. ERCOT says Magness has been given a 60-day termination notice and will continue to serve as CEO during the transition period. Magness—who made almost $900,000 in 2019—was strongly criticized after the system proved to be woefully unprepared for a winter storm last month and more than 4 million customers lost power for days, CBS reports. Gov. Greg Abbott accused ERCOT of misleading state leaders about the grid's readiness.

Lawmakers who grilled Magness for more than five hours last week said ERCOT not only underestimated the amount of power that would be needed during a severe storm, it failed to alert the public to the scale of the problem when blackouts began, the Texas Tribune reports. Magness has said grid operators had to act quickly because they were minutes away from a "catastrophic blackout" that could have knocked power offline for months. DeAnn Walker, the state's top utilities regulator, resigned on Monday but blamed the blackouts on ERCOT. At least six members of ERCOT's 16-person board have also resigned. (More Texas stories.)

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