SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – The chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission is under fire after testifying at legislative hearings looking into the devastating power outages in Texas last week.
DeAnn Walker, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, was grilled by state lawmakers for several hours Thursday in Austin.
She took the same kind of heat that was leveled at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the state grid. Seven ERCOT board members have resigned, and now some are calling on Walker to do the same.
The PUC oversees ERCOT, but Walker originally told House members she had limited authority over the entity. When questioned about what changes she would recommend to prevent future blackouts like those that crippled the state of Texas and caused deaths, the PUC chair replied,” What my recommendations are? I don’t have any at this point because I think it’s something we all have to look at.”
When Rep. Rafael Anchia from Dallas asked if Walker thought Texans deserved an apology from the PUC, there was a long, silent pause.
“The fact that you’re hesitating is astonishing,” Anchia said.
Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio, who is not a member of the legislative committees that held hearings this week followed the testimony. He tweeted Friday, “Incompetence and deception were on full display by Chair Walker yesterday. Texans want this fixed by all of us that are responsible. The first step is to replace the PUC leadership. Governor, we need their resignation or firing by the end of the day, please.”
Rep. Jared Patterson tweeted that the PUC chair should resign.
“I have zero confidence after today’s hearings: and by the line of questioning of my colleagues, I believe most, if not all, agree with me.”
Rep. Armando Walle tweeted,”Resign please.”
Larson is one of seven state representatives who fired off a letter to Walker, asking her to step down. It begins with the PUC’s mission statement to “protect customers.” The letter further states that her testimony before the joint hearing of the House Committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources indicates that she failed in her mission. The seven members of the House also chastised Walker in the letter for failing to apologize.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that, despite acknowledging your mistakes and inactions, you demonstrated a complete lack of remorse.”