EXCLUSIVE: Former ERCOT board member says ‘toxic policy’ prompted resignations after Texas network failure

EXCLUSIVE: Former ERCOT board member says 'toxic policy' prompted resignations after Texas network failure

For the first time since the resignation of six members of the ERCOT board of directors, one of these members gave an individual interview on the power outage, the political fallout and the financial future of the network following the fatal blackouts from last month.

Peter Cramton is Professor of Economics at the University of Cologne and the University of Maryland. He has expertise and experience in designing complex markets, including electricity and radio spectrum markets. He was an “independent director” on the Board of Directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) from 2015 until last week.

At his last board meeting, he said: “The ERCOT was flying a 747. There was not one, but two engines had a catastrophic failure. (ERCOT) then flew the damaged aircraft for 103 hours before landing safely in the Hudson. In my mind, the men and women of the ERCOT control room are heroes.

Cramton said he and other board members resigned due to “toxic politics” around ERCOT. The governor and the state legislature have addressed most of their criticism of the organization.

“We didn’t get off the sinking ship,” Cramton said. “We were thrown from the boat.”

According to him, ERCOT alone does not have the capacity to prevent a future electrical crisis caused by another extreme winter event. He said the Texas Public Utility Commission and the state legislature held most of the power to act on this front.

Cramton said the ERCOT board …

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