ERCOT hires Austin Energy official as new COO

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has named Cheryl Mele as ERCOT’s next senior vice president and COO.

Mele, currently deputy general manager and chief operating officer at Austin Energy, will begin the new role 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, who will become the next president and chief executive officer on Jan. 1, 2016.

Current ERCOT President and CEO Trip Doggett announced in June that he plans to retire in 2016.

Mele currently serves as deputy general manager and chief operating officer of Austin Energy, where she leads all aspects of 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 nearly 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90% of the state’s electric load.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at