ERCOT taps new second-in-command

An ERCOT worker mans a desk in the Texas electric grid manager's Austin control room. (ERCOT/Tom Reel)
An ERCOT worker mans a desk in the Texas electric grid manager’s Austin control room. (ERCOT/Tom Reel)

The chief operating officer of Austin Energy is moving to the second-in-command over most of Texas’ electric grid.

Cheryl Mele, deputy general manager and chief operating officer of Austin’s electric grid, will take over in mid-January as senior vice president and COO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, called ERCOT, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s grid.

She will report to ERCOT General Counsel Bill Magness, who becomes the new ERCOT president and CEO Jan. 1.

Cheryl Mele

“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,” Magness said Monday in a prepared statement.

Shortly after Magness was named the next CEO this summer, previous ERCOT COO Brad Jones was selected to become the president and CEO of the New York Independent System Operator, called NYISO.

Current ERCOT President and CEO Trip Doggett is retiring at the end of the year after about five years in the top job.

Mele 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.

She has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and utility executive certification from the University of Idaho.