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Five ERCOT leaders resign amid power outage controversy
(Dpysh/CC)

ERCOT control room in 2012.

Five non-Texan members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, including the chairman and vice chairman, will resign Wednesday after the state's power grid failure left millions without electricity for days during Winter Storm Uri.


The joint resignation letter wrote that Board Chairman Sally Talberg, Board Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger and Human Resources Raymond Hepper would resign. Another, Market Segment Director Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, wrote that she would resign in a separate statement. In addition to the chairmen, another out-of-state applicant who was a candidate for an ERCOT position has also withdrawn.

The information was posted on the Public Utility Commission of Texas' website on Tuesday.

All five members live outside of Texas despite the council running 90% of the state's nationally-independent power grid. Many are disappointed that one-third of ERCOT members live out of state, meaning leaders were miles away as the crisis unfolded.

ERCOT has been under fire recently for making painfully inadequate safeguards in preparation to the weeklong winter storm. Millions of residents were left with rolling blackouts or no power at all as temperatures lingered well below freezing for nearly a week. To add to the controversy, it was reported Friday that ERCOT spent less than a minute to discuss winter preparedness at a two-hour meeting earlier this month.

In the joint resignation letter, the chairmen wrote that they were leaving due to controversy about their out-of-state residency and that they felt for Texans who lost power during the storm.

"We want to acknowledge the pain and suffering of Texans during this past week," the statement read. "Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency. We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board."

Gov. Greg Abbott, who called on ERCOT leadership to resign last week, said in a statement that the council failed to make sure Texans would be safe during the winter storm.

"When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power." Abbot wrote. "ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas' power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false. The lack of preparedness and transparency at ERCOT is unacceptable, and I welcome these resignations."

On Friday, Abbott said ERCOT's failure to meet demands is what triggered an investigation into the nonprofit. "We want to make sure that whatever happened in ERCOT falling short never happens again."

Before the out-of-state chairmen resign, the members noted that they would continue to investigate ways to learn from ERCOT's past mistakes and give Texas a brighter future.

"Before we step aside, we are beginning the process of reviewing this extreme cold weather event and resulting power crisis," they wrote. "With the right follow through, Texas can lead the nation in investing in infrastructure and emergency preparedness to withstand the effects of severe weather events—whether in the form of flooding, drought, extreme temperatures, or hurricanes. We want what is best for ERCOT and Texas."

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway