Last Member of Texas Public Utility Commission Resigns
The last member of the Public Utility Commission of Texas has resigned by request from Governor Greg Abbott.
The Texas Tribune Reports that PUC Chair Arthur D’Andrea handed his resignation letter to Governor Abbott on Tuesday, March 16. The Governor says he will name a replacement soon and hopes it will mark the start of a new course for the agency.
D’Andrea had been selected just weeks ago to replace former Chair DeAnn Walker, who resigned alongside fellow commissioner Shelly Botkin, leaving the PUC with just one member left; D'Andrea
D’Andrea’s resignation could be related to a call obtained by Texas Monthly that had D’Andrea calling his promotion, “. . . one of the safest jobs in Texas."
While reportedly speaking over the phone with out-of-state investors, D'Andrea is said to have made the claim that Governor Abbott would likely wait until after the legislative session to start appointing new members to the PUC.
The call also has D'Andrea assuring investors that he would use the PUC to push back against legislative efforts aimed at repricing and reversing the massive electricity bills incurred by Texas electricity providers during the disasters winter storm in February.
During a Senate Committee hearing last week, D'Andrea told Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that efforts to reverse or correct prices of the free market were illegal and that he didn't support them. But D'Andrea also admitted that ERCOT overcharged power companies by $3 billion dollars after the storm.
An independent report from a watchdog group called Potomac Economics says that ERCOT overcharged by $16 billion, but D'Andrea called that figure a mistake and said it should be revised and further denied requests from lawmakers to retroactively reduce the market price of energy.
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