LP&L CEO retains job after Monday meeting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

LP&L CEO retains job after Monday meeting

LP&L CEO and Director of Utilities Gary Zheng LP&L CEO and Director of Utilities Gary Zheng

The Electric Utility Board voted against terminating the employment of LP&L CEO and Director of Utilities Gary Zheng.

The motion was brought forward by board member Marc McDougal and seconded by Clayton Isom. The final vote was two in favor of termination and six against.

"I will not be supporting Dr. Zheng as the director of the utility," Isom said. "Not because I think anything wrong was done on this RFP, my feelings are due to a lack of leadership."

Electric Utility Board member Emilio Abeyta was one of the six who voted not to terminate.

"I have not seen any evidence of his failure to perform his job, especially under the severe and very difficult circumstances that LP&L faces," he said.

Isom expanded on his comments after the meeting.

"I believe the opportunity cost right now with current leadership is too high. We could and should be able to find more effective leadership," he said. "The meetings have been much more tense. When a board member is being accused of having financial gain involved and then also being talked about as having motivation to kill something that the staff worked so hard to complete, it's always going to provide a tense environment."

Multiple Electric Utility Board members are up for reappointment on Thursday but Isom believes the positions may be hard to fill.

"It's becoming tougher and tougher to get quality business minds for this board because there are many reasons not to do this," he said.

When asked why he still does it, Isom said, "I'm in the middle of my appointment."

The board also voted on three other topics.

Two key changes were approved for LP&L's tariff structure.

First, for LP&L customers who use solar, or other green technologies: if they are a net producer and don't take any energy from the grid, all they will have to pay for is their meter and infrastructure.

Second, LP&L will introduce a new rate stabilization model. It will keep one rate for the summer months of June, July, August and September and one for the other eight months of the year.

LP&L believes this will be helpful to customers.

The second vote was about LP&L's general counsel. The board voted to increase his pay to $210,000 a year.

The final vote was about outside counsel. The board decided to hire the Ashcroft, Sutton, Ratcliffe law group to take over where the Andrews Kurth law firm left off. They were dismissed by the city council last week.

LP&L representatives believe it will take the new law group around two weeks to finish conducting their investigation and present the findings.

RELATED STORY: McDougal blasts LP&L CEO for personal gain allegations

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