‘Too little, too late’: Calls grow for PUC chairwoman’s resignation as hearing into Texas power outages concludes
By James Barragàn & Robert T Garrett February 26, 2021
Lawmakers are calling for the resignation of the chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission after two days of hearings into the failures that left millions of Texans without power in freezing cold temperatures last week.
Rep. Rafael Anchía, D-Dallas, was among the loudest voices calling for DeAnn Walker’s resignation, saying she had failed to exert regulatory authority within the Public Utility Commission to avoid last week’s power outages.
“After two days of testimony, it is clear to me that there was a dereliction of duty and that the people of Texas deserve nothing less than for Commissioner Walker to resign immediately,” Anchía said in a statement Friday. “Her inability to even muster an apology to Texans who endured freezing temperatures without heat or power and resulted in loss of life is inexcusable.”
Lawmakers were irked that Walker said her commission had no authority to regulate the energy system — when in fact the Legislature had given it explicit power to do so following a previous winter storm in 2011 that also led to rolling blackouts.
Anchía had one of the key moments of Thursday’s hearings when he took Walker to task for denying that the commission had that power. He pointed to state laws that gave the PUC regulatory authority over the state’s energy market structure, previously passed laws that clarified that authority, and the commission’s own mission statement.