The former head of the Texas power grid on Wednesday testified that he was ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to keep power prices at the maximum price cap during last winter’s winter storm, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Bill Magness, who is the former CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said that former Public Utility Commission Chair DeAnn Walker told him that he was to prevent additional blackouts by any means necessary.
“She told me the governor had conveyed to her if we emerged from rotating outages, it was imperative, they not resume,” Magness said on Wednesday. “We needed to do what we needed to do to make it happen.”
Walker resigned from her position at the beginning of March 2021, shortly after the freeze, following Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s call for her resignation. Magness was fired from his post days later.
The governor’s office previously denied any involvement in the decision to keep the price of electricity at $9,000 per megawatt hour, substantially higher than the market price at the time, which was $1,200 during the freeze. According to ERCOT’s Independent Market Monitor, Potomac Economics, the decision led to the state overcharging power companies by $16 billion.
State officials estimate that 246 Texans died during the February freeze, the Texas Tribune reported. Nearly two-thirds of the deaths can be attributed to hypothermia.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS