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New Leadership Emerges At ERCOT, Public Utility Commission of Texas

April 27, 2021
Texas commission spokesperson Andrew Barlow on April 27 told T&D World sister publication TransmissionHub that Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Peter Lake — who was previously chairman of the Texas Water Development Board — to the commission on April 12

ERCOT on April 27 said that its board of directors has selected Brad Jones to serve as ERCOT’s interim president and CEO, effective May 4.

According to ERCOT, Jones has more than 30 years of industry experience, including serving as president and CEO of the New York ISO from October 2015 to October 2018.

ERCOT said that the board elected Jones to serve as interim president and CEO until the permanent position has been filled, up to a term of one year (under ERCOT bylaws). ERCOT noted that the terms of Jones’ engagement with ERCOT will be established with the ERCOT Human Resources and Governance Committee, subject to board approval.

ERCOT noted that, at the board’s request, it issued on March 15 a request for proposal to identify and contract with a qualified executive search firm to assist the board with identifying, investigating, qualifying, and presenting a pool of qualified candidates for the president and CEO position. ERCOT said that confidential proposals were due April 9, and that it received eight proposals that it is evaluating for board consideration.

In a separate April 27 statement, Jones said, in part: “Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with ERCOT staff, elected officials and leaders of various state agencies and developing a 100-day strategic plan to present to state officials and the public. The plan will put ERCOT on a solid foundation for providing reliable electric service year-round.”

ERCOT noted that it provided an update on March 10 to the Public Utility Commission of Texas on its governance status.

In that filing, ERCOT said that given the recent resignations of several of its board members, it is not able to fulfill certain statutory, regulatory, and governing document requirements, some for an immediate time and some possibly for an indefinite time in light of the current board composition.

As reported, after Texas was hit by an extreme winter weather event in February, four unaffiliated directors from the ERCOT board provided notice to the commission of their resignation, as well as the withdrawal of one unaffiliated director candidate from consideration for commission approval to fill the board’s prior sole unaffiliated director vacancy.

Also, ERCOT, in a statement provided to T&D World sister publication TransmissionHub on March 4, said that its board met on March 3 and directed the corporate secretary to exercise the 60 days’ termination notice to ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness under the employment agreement with ERCOT.

The Texas Senate on March 29 said that according to the state, 111 people were known to have died from causes related to the February storm, which also caused power outages, including rolling outages, and staff shake-ups at the commission.

On March 1, the commission said that its chairman, DeAnn Walker, resigned, effective immediately, and on March 8, the commission was left with a sole commissioner — Commission Chairman Arthur D’Andrea — as Commissioner Shelly Botkin resigned her role, effective immediately.

On March 17, the commission said that D’Andrea resigned his role with the commission, effective upon the appointment of a replacement.

As noted on the commission’s website, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on April 1 appointed Will McAdams to serve as a commissioner on the commission, for a term set to expire on Sept. 1, 2025. Before his appointment, McAdams served as president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, the commission said.

The website also notes that the commission’s new chairman is Peter Lake.

Commission spokesperson Andrew Barlow on April 27 told TransmissionHub that the governor appointed Lake — who was previously chairman of the Texas Water Development Board — to the commission on April 12.

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