Market Information System Grid and Market Conditions

News Release

September 21, 2011

Three independent members selected for ERCOT board

Nominees subject to membership vote, regulatory approval 

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator, has selected three new board members, subject to approval by the ERCOT members and the Public Utility Commission:  Craven Crowell of Knoxville, TN; Karl V. Pfirrmann of Greensburg, PA; and Judy W. Walsh of Alto, NM. 

ERCOT’s 266 corporate members were notified by email today of a special meeting on Oct. 12 for the purpose of voting on the three independent directors (unaffiliated with ERCOT market participants).  If the corporate members submit sufficient consent ballot forms by the Oct. 10, the directors may be elected by consent in lieu of the special meeting.  The directors will not be seated on the board until approved by the Public Utility Commission, the primary regulatory authority for ERCOT. 

Crowell has 25 years of experience in federal government services, including serving as chair of the Tennessee Valley Authority.   He is currently serving as an independent director for the Texas Reliability Entity and serves on the member representative committee of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.  He formerly served as international economic advisor to the People’s Government of China and has worked as an energy and water resources consultant.  Crowell has an economics degree from David Lipscomb University in Nashville. 

Pfirrmann is a former executive for PJM Interconnection in Norristown, PA, including terms as executive vice president and as interim president and CEO.   He also served as vice president in several areas of system planning and business operations for Allegheny Power Service Corporation in Greensburg, PA.   Pfirrmann has an electrical engineering degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. 

Walsh was appointed by Texas Governor George W. Bush as commissioner for the Public Utility Commission and served from 1995 to 2001.  She worked most recently as a senior vice president of government affairs and regulatory policy for SBC Communications (now AT&T) in San Antonio.  She served as chair of the audit and finance committee at Midwest ISO from 2005 to 2010 and at Western Electricity Coordinating Council from 2007 to 2010.  Walsh has bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration from Rice University, Houston, and a master’s degree in taxation from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

If approved, the nominees will replace A.D. Patton, who left at the end of his term in mid-June; Miguel Espinosa, who is leaving when his third and final term expires in early December; and Laura Doll, who yesterday announced her plans to leave in early 2012 after her position is filled. 

State law mandates the board include five unaffiliated members – from which the chair and vice-chair are chosen.  Others on the 16-member “hybrid” board include three consumer segment representatives (industrial, commercial and residential); the ERCOT CEO; the Public Utility Commission chair (non-voting); and one representative from each of the six industry segments – investor-owned utilities (or transmission owners), city-owned utilities, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, and retail electric providers. 

Additional information online:
ERCOT Board of Directors

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers -- representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 710+ generation units. It also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for nearly 8 million premises in competitive choice areas.

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. Its members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities, transmission and distribution providers and municipally owned electric utilities.