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The president and CEO of the Texas power grid has been fired after mounting calls for his ouster following the deadly blackouts that left millions of people without electricity and heat for days in subfreezing temperatures.
Bill Magness was given a two-month termination notice Wednesday by the board of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a cooperative responsible for 90 percent of the state’s electricity.
On Monday, the state’s top utility regulator resigned in the wake of the one of the worst blackouts in US history.
”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 organization said in a statement.
Magness — who made over $876,000 in salary and other compensation in 2019 – was slammed amid the blackouts that began Feb. 15 when a winter storm dropped temperatures into single digits, causing skyrocketing demand for power to heat homes.
Grid operators disconnected more than 4 million customers as the system buckled, which Magness has said was necessary to avert an even greater catastrophic blackout that could have lasted months.
The power grid was “four minutes 37 seconds away from a total collapse” during the storm — meaning the Lone Star State could have been left in the dark for weeks.
“This was a devastating event,” Magness said in his opening statements at a recent board meeting. “Power is essential to civilization.”
During the storm, 356 generators were knocked offline, nearly doubling what Texas experienced during its last major winter storm in 2011, KHOU reported.
The prolonged outages escalated to a crisis of tragic proportions, as residents trying to keep warm died of carbon monoxide poisoning and others froze to death.
The storm and blackouts have been blamed for more than 40 deaths in the state, but the full toll may not be known for months.
At least six ERCOT board members have stepped down in the aftermath of the blackouts.
With Post wires
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