Take 2: ERCOT firing, Russian sanctions


Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Carlee George , Staff Writer

ERCOT CEO: Bill Magness, president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) was fired during an emergency meeting held by the company on Wednesday. This follows the public hearing last week where Magness testified on raising power prices following the winter storm in February. The board gave him a 60 days termination notice and will immediately look for a new CEO. Magness will remain the company’s president during the transition. Seven out of 15 company directors have also resigned.  

Significance: Magness led the company during the severe winter weather in February that temporarily left 4 million Texans without power. ERCOT came under fire from citizens as well as Gov. Greg Abbott for “misleading the state” during the power outages. Dan Patrick, Lieutenant Governor of Texas, called for the resignation of leaders of ERCOT and the Public Utility Commision (PUC) on Monday. Later that day DeAnn Walker, the PUC chairwoman, resigned. 

Sanctions on Russia: On Tuesday, the European Union and United States issued coordinated sanctions on Russia for the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Navalny is an opposition leader that was poisoned last year and later arrested. His arrest caused nationwide protests in January. For the U.S. the sanctions will impact export and visa restrictions. Members of the Russian government including Federal Security Service director Aleksandr Bortnikov were sanctioned as well as 13 companies. 

Significance: This is President Joe Biden’s first direct target at Russia since assuming office. He opened a review of U.S.-Russia policy in January that addresses the Navalny issue as well as Russian hacks and interference with the U.S. government. More penalties are expected to follow in the coming weeks addressing more topics dealing with Russia.