Gov. Abbott names new Public Utility Commission chair just two days after previous leader resigned

Arthur D'Andrea (PUC Photo)

Arthur D’Andrea (PUC Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Just a couple days after the resignation of former chairwoman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas DeAnn Walker, Gov. Greg Abbott has named a new person for the role.

In an announcement Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office said Abbott appointed Arthur D’Andrea to lead the embattled agency. D’Andrea’s role will include overseeing the state’s electric, telecommunication, water and sewer utilities, as well as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state power grid.

D’Andrea is from Austin and has served as a commissioner on the PUC since November 2017. The governor’s office said before D’Andrea’s promotion he was assistant general council for Abbott’s office and has served as an assistant solicitor general for the Office of the Attorney General.

He got his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin, the governor’s office said. He’s also a member of the State Bar of Texas and received a Juris Doctor degree from the UT School of Law.

Previous chair resigned after fallout from winter storm power grid disaster

Walker resigned Monday after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called for her to step down. She’s the latest in a string of resignations related to the state’s massive power failure during the historic winter storms. Those blackouts left millions of Texans in the dark and cold for days in mid-February.

The Texas Senate and House launched simultaneous hearings on Feb. 25 to take a deeper look into ERCOT’s preparations or lack thereof before the storms.

Several members of ERCOT have departed as a result of the criticism from lawmakers and Texans themselves.

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