Sally Talberg ERCOT Chairwoman
Sally Talberg is the Chairwoman of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) who was elected as chair of the board only days before the power outage.
More than 3 million Texans are still without power Wednesday, February 17, days after a winter storm blasted the region, bringing with it record-cold temperatures. At least 13 people have died in weather-related incidents in the Houston area, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Texans, in turn, are blasting public officials including Former Colorado City Mayor Tim Boyd, and ERCOT. ERCOT officials have said it may be days before power is restored, The Dallas Morning News reported. ERCOT manages the flow of power to more than 26 million Texas residents, its website says.
Sally Talberg Michigan
A massive blackout in Texas shined a spotlight on a little-known policy: ERCOT officers and directors are not required to live in Texas, and Chairwoman Sally Talberg lives in Michigan. She was elected as chair of the board only days before the power outage.
At its head is Talberg, who lives in Michigan far from the blackouts, officials said.
What You Don’t Know About Sally Talberg
Talberg was Elected Days Before a Winter Storm Knocked Out Texans
Talberg was elected as the chairwoman of ERCOT as a newcomer less than two weeks before the widespread power outages. The ERCOT board of directors elected her as the chair on February 9, 2021, and the ERCOT press release said. She began serving as an unaffiliated director on the board on January 1, 2021.
At the same time, Peter Cramton was named vice-chair. He began serving as an unaffiliated director on the board in October 2015.
Talberg said in a statement at the time she was excited about the new role. “ERCOT is a world-class electric grid operator, and it is exciting to be part of this organization as it continues to evolve its markets, planning and operations in response to unprecedented change in the electric industry,” she said.
Dr. Melissa C. Lott, a senior research scholar at Columbia University SIPA, announced the election of Talberg and Cramton on Twitter.
Texas Lawmaker Jeff Leach Plans to File Legislation
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, said he will file legislation requiring the officers and directors of ERCOT to live in Texas, referencing Talberg living in Michigan. Leach called it “completely ridiculous and unacceptable” that she lives in Texas.
“I’m filing legislation this session requiring all @ERCOT_ISO officers and directors to be Texas residents. Completely ridiculous and unacceptable that current ERCOT Board Chair lives in Michigan!” he wrote on Twitter.
Talberg Lives in Michigan With Her Husband & 2 Daughters
Talberg lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters, according to her ERCOT bio. She has ties to Texas outside of her work with ERCOT. Talberg earned her master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin.
She also previously served as an advisor to commissioners at the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
Talberg Became Chairman of the MPSC in 2015
Former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed Talberg to the Michigan Public Service Commission on July 3, 2013. She served as chairman from January 4, 2016, until July 27, 2020. She served until December 31, 2020, the day she became the ERCOT chairman, according to the MPSC.
The MPSC provides Michigan residents access to energy and telecommunications services, its website says.
Talberg Called for an ‘Urgent Meeting’
Talberg issued a letter Wednesday, February 17, 2021, calling for an “urgent meeting” to be held on February 24 to discuss the widespread power outage.
“While ERCOT’s operators have managed to avoid a total collapse of the grid, the significant and sustained loss of electricity generation and unprecedented demand have led to millions of Texas households and businesses without power for days during extremely cold temperatures,” she wrote.
“Given ERCOT’s charge by the Texas Legislature for resource adequacy and reliability, this crisis warrants the board’s full and prompt attention, beginning with an understanding of the key events and known causes to date.”
She called on ERCOT management “to provide a chronology of key events and critical actions as well as data and explanations in response to the following questions,” she wrote. The questions included asking for information on what preparations were in place, and what caused the sustained power loss.