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Energy ERCOT names Cheryl Mele next chief operating officer

ERCOT names Cheryl Mele next chief operating officer

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Cheryl Mele has been named the next senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the independent system operator of the electric grid and competitive electric markets serving most of Texas.

Mele, who currently serves as deputy general manager and chief operating officer at Austin Energy, begins her new duties in mid-January.

“We believe Cheryl’s leadership experience, deep knowledge of this evolving industry, and understanding of ERCOT’s unique grid and market characteristics have prepared her to lead our grid and market operations to continuing success,” said Bill Magness, ERCOT’s general counsel, commenting in a news release.

The move will see Magness become the agency’s next president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2016.

At Austin Energy, Mele currently leads its power operations and planning efforts. She has worked nearly 30 years in the power industry, including positions as an engineer and system programmer with General Electric prior to joining Austin Energy in 1991.

A registered professional engineer in Texas, Mele has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and utility executive certification from the University of Idaho.

ERCOT manages the flow of electric power to almost 24 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 43,000 miles of transmission lines and 550 generation units. The membership-based, nonprofit corporation is governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

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