Talk about adding insult to injury.
After a deadly winter storm left millions in Texas without power this week — along with shortages of food and clean water — some Texans are now seeing exorbitant electricity bills.
The tabs run as high as $17,000, according to reports.
That’s how much Ty Williams, a resident of Arlington, told FOX 4 of Dallas-Fort Worth his family was being asked to pay — despite trying to conserve electricity during the storm.
“How in the world can anyone pay that? I mean you go from a couple hundred dollars a month,” he told WFAA-TV in Dallas. “There’s absolutely no way‚ it makes no sense.”
Williams was a customer of Griddy, a wholesale electricity provider in the state.
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Griddy urged its customers to switch this week as wholesale prices skyrocketed during the storm, but Williams said it took him several days to sign up with a new company.
“It was useless because nobody wants to take on the burden of a new client when they’re paying top dollar for power,” he told FOX 4.
Some customers said they got messages or bills from power companies, charging them for when they were in the dark, but the companies have said no customers will be charged for when they didn’t have electricity, FOX 4 reported.
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Griddy said in a statement on its website Thursday, “We know you are angry and so are we. P—–, in fact.” The company explained wholesale prices shot up because the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) took control of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid, Monday and raised the wholesale price to $9 per kilowatt-hour at least until the grid could manage the demand caused by the winter storm.
The company said that’s around 300 times higher than the normal wholesale price, and even though 99% of homes had electricity by Thursday evening, PUCT left the pricing in place.
“The market is supposed to set the prices, not political appointees,” the company said. “We intend to fight this for, and alongside, our customers for equity and accountability – to reveal why such price increases were allowed to happen as millions of Texans went without power.”
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Griddy told FOX 4 that bill payments can be made in installments but didn’t offer any other immediate solutions to customers’ excessive bills.
Another customer in Dallas told WFAA-TV they kept their 700 square-foot apartment at 60 degrees this week, yet their bill was more than $1,000 and a separate Griddy customer told the station the bill for their 1,300-square-foot house was $3,800.
“I only paid $1,200 for the whole 2020,” the customer said.
The price hikes affected only those customers on variable or indexed-rate plans, not those with a fixed-rate.