10:57 GMT26 February 2021
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    Last week, the state of Texas saw a heavy winter storm that seriously damaged local water infrastructure systems and left millions of residents without power amid sub-zero temperatures as most of the state's electricity grid failed.

    Several board members of the Texas power grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), filed their resignations on Tuesday, saying they will step down from their posts following an urgent board meeting on 24 February.

    "Before we step aside, we are beginning the process of reviewing this extreme cold weather event and resulting power crisis", board directors Sally Talberg, Peter Cramton, Terry Bulger and Raymong Hepper wrote in the letter. "[...] We want what is best for ERCOT and Texas."

    The letter came after the Lone Star state faced a massive blizzard last week that caused widespread power outages and damaged state infrastructure.

    Their resignation was welcomed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who promised a full inquiry into the failures.

    "The lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] is unacceptable and I welcome these resignations," Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday. "The state of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong."

    After millions of Texans were left without power or had to pay "astronomical" bills for electricity amid the winter storm, ERCOT and other energy companies faced an intense backlash. Among those criticising the company's response for the blizzard was state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who slammed the operators' behavior as "unacceptable".

    "ERCOT & other energy cos have slipped & fallen on their faces & it’s not the ice’s fault. They have left 3+ million homes w/o power for days, including my own. What do they do in response? Jack up prices, go silent, make excuses, & play the blame game. It’s unacceptable!", Paxton tweeted last week, later saying that he had opened an investigation into power companies that "grossly mishandled" the blizzard.

    ERCOT, a company that provides electricity to over 26 million Texans - which is, as the operator itself outlines, 90 percent of the state's electric load, on 19 February said that its operations had "returned to normal" after the grid was hit by the winter storm. 

    The "winter nightmare" that struck Texas resulted in US President Joe Biden issuing a major disaster declaration for the Lone Star state, with Abbott on Monday approving an additional 31 counties to the declaration to "help speed the recovery in regions across the state."


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    electricity, power outage, Texas, US
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