As previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper, ERCOT—the Electric Reliability Council of Texas—operates the state's electric grid and manages about 90% of the state's electric load. The nonprofit is governed by a board of directors, and it is subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.
Following the mid-February statewide power grid failure, both entities have undergone major personnel changes and have been subject to public scrutiny as well as hearings in the Texas Legislature. Gov. Greg Abbott likewise made ERCOT reform an emergency item during the 2021 Texas legislative session, and legislators have already filed several bills related to the topic.
According to the March 11 news release, in her new role Brandt will be tasked with enhancing the PUC's oversight of ERCOT. Brandt is a 20-year Texas resident whose resume includes serving as an analyst for Army intelligence, Dell, Austin Energy, CPS Energy and the PUC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Maryland.
"Adrianne is the exact mixture of knowledge, experience and toughness this role requires," PUC Chairman Arthur D'Andrea said in a statement. "She knows the intricacies of power markets and will bring her forthright nature and expertise to bear in a way that will help our agency more ably fulfill our oversight role."
According to the release, Brandt will be assisted by fellow Texan Brad Jones, who previously served as chief operations officer of ERCOT. Jones has also served as president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator, chairman of the Edison Electric Institute's Executive Advisory Committee and board member for the Gulf Coast Power Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University and a master's in business administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.
"Adrianne and Brad provide a powerful one-two punch of industry knowledge, regulatory experience and unassailable integrity," PUC Executive Director Thomas Gleeson said in a statement. "Not only will they guide a financial analysis of the grid event, but will also ratchet up ERCOT's accountability to the PUC and the people of Texas."
Brandt's appointment follows the resignations of former PUC Chairman DeAnne Walker on March 1 and of former PUC Commissioner Shelly Botkin on March 8. Similarly, several former ERCOT board members have also resigned from their positions following the mid-February incident including Sally Talberg, Peter Cramton, Terry Bulger, Raymond Hepper, Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, Randall Miller and Clifton Karnei. Former ERCOT CEO Bill Magness was ousted by the board March 3.