Fights continue over massive electric bills from winter storm

The storm and the electric bills have plunged more Texans deeper into debt after the average price per kilowatt-hour went from 9 cents to $9.

Video Transcript

- We learned the state will look into the power companies that are sending customers those massive power bills. Last week, we first told you about power bills costing hundreds of dollars. Now the state's public utility commission says it is looking into companies that offer rates that fluctuate based on the spot price of wholesale electricity. Bree Berry has been in contact with one of those customers about her $600 bill. Bree is back. And Bree, her bill just keeps climbing.

- Yes. $600 was back in the first or second day. Savannah Thigpen, who you may remember I spoke to last week, has a one-bedroom apartment in the Spring Branch area. She lives alone. And she's just one of the many, many customers who's dealing with this headache, thousands of dollars drafted out of some of their bank accounts.

- I'm really kind of predicting that I'm going to have to pay over $1,000 just for one week of electricity.

- That was last week, and she was right.

- They stopped the bill. It stopped at about $1,200.

- She says Gritty has sent customers a number of emails trying to work with them after they initially sent messages to customers before the storm, encouraging them to find a new provider.

- They did let us sign up for a deferment program. They stopped all future billing for now. So even today, I'm still not getting charged.

- During the freeze, Lisa Corrie ended up with a bill over $9,000. In her class action lawsuit, she's accusing the provider Gritty of price gouging customers during the storm.

- We were in a dire situation last week. I had my parents here. I had my in-laws here. They were both out of power and water. And at the short periods of time when I had power, I was too afraid to turn my heat on because I saw my light bill jumping. So I'm just hoping that all the people that this affected, that they get some relief and that this can't happen in the future.

- According to Corrie's lawyer, the lawsuit has two main goals, refund the money drafted out of people's accounts during the freeze and an injunction that stops all collection on current bills.

Now, Gritty released a statement to ABC 13 last week, saying they're asking Urquhart and the public utility commission which oversees Urquhart for relief for its customers. Now, one major recommendation. If you're dealing with this, listen up. One thing you can do right now if you're on one of these variable rate plans is stop automatic withdrawals from your bank account until this all gets sorted out.