Texas state senators scold the chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission for ‘complacency’
By David Lieber February 25, 2021
In the great hall of the Texas State Senate, where legendary leaders like Bob Bullock and William P. Hobby Jr. once ruled, DeAnn T. Walker looked very small indeed.
Right before your eyes Thursday, on the opening day of legislative hearings, we watched the incredible shrinking chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas as she tried to shift blame.
“I’m sorry,” she began. “I’m a little nervous.”
Turns out she had every reason to be. She didn’t have a lot of friends in the room.
She testified before a Senate committee, but the more accurate term is she shifted the blame of last week’s deadly double-snowstorm debacle from the PUC to ERCOT, operators of the state electricity grid. But there’s a problem. She’s the oversight boss of ERCOT and even sits on the board as a non-voting member.
Don’t blame us, she said, when ERCOT was at fault.
Some of the lawmakers didn’t buy it. They told her she had authority, and she needed to use it.
Amen. That’s what The Watchdog has been bellyaching about for years.
Walker was asked by state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, for her reaction to a previous Watchdog report that she had dissolved the PUC’s enforcement division. I’ll tell you what she said in a bit about my story.