In a 5-4 decision the Texas Supreme Court said they do not have jurisdiction to decide if ERCOT is able to be sued. With over half of Texans giving state leaders a D or an F for how they handled the crisis, a lack of a decision from Texas’ highest court does not inspire confidence.
With this ruling from the Supreme Court on top of a slew of resignations from PUC commissioners and ERCOT board members, the tangled web of accountability seems to have gotten a little more tangled.
Dallas based Panda Power had sued ERCOT for claiming they falsified energy reports to promote plant construction around Texas. A lower court ruled that ERCOT had sovereign immunity, a legal principle protecting governments and agencies from being sued.
With the lower courts ruling and the Texas Supreme Court’s decision, ERCOT remains “the only grid manager in the nation with sovereign immunity.”
Among the dissenters were Chief Justice Nathan Hecht who said the, “Court is simply wrong,” and Justice Eva Guzman who said the court had a duty to settle.
While the Legislature is debating how to reform ERCOT, this non-decision on ERCOT’s sovereign immunity adds another wrinkle to the ways legislators can avoid a grid shutdown in the future.