The group of four who signed the letter — Chair Sally Talberg, Vice-Chair Peter Cramton, Terry Bulger, and Raymond Hepper — resigned after criticism not only of the organization’s handling of Texas’ prolonged blackouts but also for their out-of-state residency.
“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,” the joint letter to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) reads.
A footnote within the PUC filing indicates that the other out-of-state board member, Vanessa Anesetti-Parra, also resigned — but did so separately from the other four.
Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) promised shortly after this fact was circulated that he’d file legislation this legislative session to mandate in-state residency as a prerequisite for service on the board. Governor Greg Abbott added ERCOT reform to his list of emergency items for the legislature to consider on Tuesday of last week.
Abbott said in response to the resignations, “When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power. 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. The State of Texas will continue to investigate ERCOT and uncover the full picture of what went wrong, and we will ensure that the disastrous events of last week are never repeated.”
The letter further stated, “Before we step aside, we are beginning the process of reviewing this extreme cold weather event and resulting power crisis. 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.”
Early morning on February 15, ERCOT began issuing “rotating” blackouts that never really rotated, and rather, for many, remained prolonged for days on end. ERCOT is the regulator of Texas’ electricity grid and has received the bulk of the blame for the state’s week of turmoil.
A joint House committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday to investigate the causes of the blackouts, and ERCOT will no-doubt be at its center.
Read the resignation letter below.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Governor Abbott’s statement and mention of Anesetti-Parra’s resignation.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.