Public Utility Commission chairman resigns at Gov. Abbott's request

Gov. Greg Abbott says that the Public Utility Commission of Texas' chairman has resigned at his request.

Abbott said in a statement that on Tuesday night, he asked for and accepted the resignation of Arthur D'Andrea.

"I will be naming a replacement in the coming days who will have the responsibility of charting a new and fresh course for the agency," said Abbott. "Texans deserve to have trust and confidence in the Public Utility Commission, and this action is one of many steps that will be taken to achieve that goal."



Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement Wednesday regarding PUC's authority in correcting pricing errors during last month's winter storm:

"I had no doubt that asking the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to direct ERCOT to correct their pricing errors was not in conflict with the law or the Texas Constitution and I am pleased that Attorney General Paxton has affirmed that the PUC has "complete authority" to act. Correcting ERCOT's pricing errors is essential to save Texas ratepayers at least $4.2 billion and it is the right thing to do. The Texas House should move as quickly as possible to pass legislation and send it to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. The clock is ticking."

D'Andrea was the last remaining member of the three-person commission that regulates the state's electric, telecommunication and water and sewer utilities, says the Texas Tribune

D'Andrea took over as chair from DeAnn Walker, who resigned from her position in early March in the aftermath of the winter storm last month. The second commissioner, Shelly Botkin, resigned on March 8, leaving only D'Andrea.

RELATED: Five ERCOT board members who live outside of Texas resign in week after power outage, winter storm

Abbott will now be tasked with filling all three seats on the Commission. Each appointment is subject to confirmation by the Texas Senate.

Millions of Texans experienced statewide power outages and a water crisis is unfolding after winter storms wreaked havoc on the power grid and utilities in February.

RELATED: Fired ERCOT CEO Bill Magness says he will not seek, accept severance pay

Record low temperatures damaged infrastructure and froze pipes, and Texas officials ordered 7 million people — one-quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking the water. Some hospitals in the Lone Star State faced a loss in water pressure and, in some cases, heatincluding a handful in Central Texas.