After an Arlington man was hit with a $17,000 electricity bill and other Texans received bills in the thousands, Gov. Greg Abbott will have an emergency meeting with top-state officials to address the issue, he announced Saturday.
The governor will meet with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan and members of the Texas Legislature to get Texans off the hook for the unreasonable spikes.
“It is unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs,” Abbott said.
Currently, the electric company Griddy is under fire after its customers are reporting having bills in the thousands because of the winter storm conditions. The company charges customers a $9.99 monthly fee and the cost of spot power traded on Texas’ electric grid based on the time of day they use electricity.
Ty Williams of Arlington, a Griddy customer who didn’t lose electricity during the outages, was slapped with a $17,000 bill, KDFW reported. While DeAndre Upshaw of Dallas owed $5,000 to the company for his 900-square-foot, two-story townhouse, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Karen Cosby also had a $5,000 bill from Griddy, the DMN reported. Both Upshaw and Cosby are looking for a new provider.
What baffled Williams is that while he didn’t lose power, his family did everything they could to conserve energy. He was eventually able to switch providers.
Griddy officials warned their customers that prices would hike because of the conditions and that they should look for a new provider, but for some, it was too late.
In a statement, company officials addressed the surge in prices and they “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.”
For those wondering if they will be slapped with an electricity bill in the thousands, it depends on whether residential customers signed long-term contracts with their providers or took their chances paying wholesale market prices overseen by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the nonprofit charged with managing the state’s electrical grid and its “energy-only” market.
Most Texans won’t have this issue, as the three main buyers of wholesale power are retail electric providers, electric cooperatives and municipal utilities. These entities have long-term contracts laying out how much estimated power they will need and fixed rates for how much they will pay for it.
LEGISLATORS THAT WILL MEET WITH ABBOTT
Sen. Jane Nelson – Chair of Senate Finance Committee
Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. – Vice Chair of Senate Finance Committee
Sen. Kelly Hancock – Chair of Senate Business and Commerce Committee
Sen. Robert Nichols – Vice Chair of Senate Business and Commerce Committee
Rep. Greg Bonnen – Chair of House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Chris Paddie – Chair of House State Affairs Committee
Rep. Ana Hernandez – Vice Chair of House State Affairs Committee
Rep. Craig Goldman – Chair of House Energy Resources Committee