Press Release

HDC Chair Chris Turner Statement on Gov. Abbott’s ERCOT Meddling

(TEXAS) – Today, the Texas Tribune published an article detailing Gov. Abbott’s unprecedented interference with the operation of Texas’ electric grid, including controlling the information that ERCOT shares with the public and who will become its next CEO.

Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) issued the following statement in response:

“When it comes to the Texas grid, Gov. Abbott has employed his signature move as governor: he’s taken a serious problem and made it worse. The Texas Tribune article explained how the governor’s improper meddling has not only prevented the hiring of a permanent CEO, but has cut off the flow of vital information to the people of Texas.  

“This summer, Texas has experienced exceptionally high temperatures and has had a number of days when power reserves were dangerously low. Power generators have raised concerns about their inability to conduct routine maintenance due to ERCOT forcing them to operate continuously. Through all of this, ERCOT has been shockingly silent, going weeks and even months between updates on social media and providing very little information when they issue conservation notices. Now we know why — Greg Abbott is literally editing their statements.

“Abbott is meddling in ERCOT’s operations because he has a tough election around the corner, and the memory of the 2021 grid failure is still fresh in voters’ minds. But not only is he overreaching in his authority, he is hurting Texans in the process by preventing stable leadership and clear communications from Texas’ grid operator.  

“When the grid failed last year, Abbott immediately worked to escape accountability by diverting blame from himself and his hand-picked commissioners at the Public Utility Commission, the agency responsible for overseeing ERCOT. He did this by scapegoating ERCOT, even though the buck stopped with Abbott’s PUC.  

“It doesn’t take a human resources expert to understand why ERCOT is struggling to find qualified applicants for CEO — who would want to sign up to be the governor’s political punching bag? Amazingly, there was one qualified applicant — but Abbott vetoed him. Meanwhile, the governor insists ERCOT hire someone who refuses to take the job, perpetuating the cycle of dysfunction. This entire episode is a case study in clumsy attempts at self-preservation, incompetent management and ineffective leadership — the signature hallmarks of Greg Abbott’s governorship.”  

The Texas House Democratic Caucus, which is composed of all Democrats in the Texas House, serves as the group’s membership services and logistical arm, and works to support House Democrats with communications, policy, and legal resources. Chaired by Rep. Chris Turner (D – Grand Prairie), the Caucus is focused on fighting for real solutions for all Texans.

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