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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke February 23, 2021

Goldman Sachs doesn’t oversee Texas utilities

If Your Time is short

  • Heidi Cruz is a managing director of a Goldman Sachs division, but the financial services company doesn’t oversee Texas utilities. 
     
  • Electric utilities in Texas are subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
 

Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi Cruz, were criticized for leaving their home in Houston for Cancun during prolonged outages that left Texans across the state without power or heat during recent winter storms.  

But a claim spreading on social media that connects the Republican senator’s wife to Texas utilities is wrong.

"DO YOU KNOW," one post says, "Heidi Cruz, Ted’s wife, is managing director of Goldman Sachs. They oversee the Texas utilities."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Heidi Cruz is a managing director in the Consumer and Wealth Management Division of Goldman Sachs. But the company does not have a controlling stake in any U.S. energy or utility company, spokesperson Leslie Shribman told us. 

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"Some of these social media comments may be referring to an investment made by a Goldman Sachs fund as part of a private equity consortium that bought TXU in 2007," Shribman said, referring to an electricity provider in Texas, "but following the company’s bankruptcy years ago, we no longer had a stake."

TXU was owned by private equity firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital and the buyout arm of Goldman Sachs, the New York Times reported, but after the buyout, natural gas prices dropped, and the equity invested by the owners was "all but wiped out" by 2012.  

In Texas, the electricity grid’s main operator is the nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT. It manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million customers, and it’s governed by a board of directors that includes industry representatives, among others.

ERCOT is subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, water and sewer utilities.  

Gov. Greg Abbott called on ERCOT’s leadership to resign in the wake of grid failures during the winter storm and he has made reforming the group an emergency item for the 2021 legislative session, which is now underway. 

We rate this Facebook post Mostly False.

 

Our Sources

Facebook post, Feb. 21, 2021

The New York Times, Ted Cruz’s Cancun trip: Family texts detail his political blunder, Feb. 18, 2021

Luminant, TXU to set new direction as private company; public benefits include price cuts, price protection, investments in alternative energy and stronger environmental policies, Feb. 26, 2007

The New York Times, A record buyout turns sour for investors, Feb. 28, 2012

Texas Tribune, "What happened is completely unacceptable": Gov. Greg Abbott calls for winterization of Texas energy system, feb. 18, 2021

ERCOT, About ERCOT, visited Feb. 23, 2021

Public Utility Commission of Texas, About the PUCT, visited Feb. 23, 2021

Austin American-Statesman, Is ERCOT a government agency? Answers to 5 questions about the group that operates Texas’ power grid, Feb. 19, 2021

Austin American-Statesman, Texas utility commission’s emergency order requires generators to sell electricity amid storm, Feb. 15, 2021

Email interview with Leslie Shribman, vice president, media relations, Goldman Sachs, Feb. 23, 2021

 

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Goldman Sachs doesn’t oversee Texas utilities

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