Texas electricity bills skyrocket amid state of emergency

Ashley Terrell
·3 min read

Texas’s wholesale power prices have increased to more than $9,000 per megawatt hour

As Texas continues to battle with the aftermath of the historic winter storm that collapsed the state’s power grid, some residents are receiving electric bills as high as $10,000, according to NBC News.

Jose Del Rio of Haltom City in the Dallas-Fort Worth area received a $630 electricity bill this month instead of the $125 to $150 bill he normally receives each month for his vacant two-bedroom home.

“If worse comes to worst, I have the ability to put it on a credit card or figure something out,” Del Rio said. ”There is no one living in that house. All the lights are off. But I have the air at 60 because I don’t want the pipes to freeze.”

An aerial view from a drone shows electrical lines running through a neighborhood on February 19, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Amid days of nationwide frigid winter storms in which 58 people died, more than 4 million Texans were without power for much of the past week, with about 13 million Texans being forced to boil tap water in the aftermath of the strain on infrastructure. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
An aerial view from a drone shows electrical lines running through a neighborhood on February 19, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Amid days of nationwide frigid winter storms in which 58 people died, more than 4 million Texans were without power for much of the past week, with about 13 million Texans being forced to boil tap water in the aftermath of the strain on infrastructure. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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When Del Rio contacted Griddy, his electric company, he was directed to switch providers as their company’s prices reflect on the state of the market and the current demands.

Royce and Danielle Pierce of Willow Park watched their electricity bill reach nearly $10,000 for their three-bedroom home and were forced to close their debit card connected to their Giddy account as the company wiped it out in its entirety.

“We are hoping there will be relief. This is something maybe we can skate by and tackle as time goes on, but how many people can’t? A lot,” Royce told NBC News.

Due to the extreme weather and the increase in energy demands, the wholesale power prices have increased to more than $9,000 per megawatt hour in comparison to $50 per megawatt hour which is the seasonal average.

Griddy released a statement to its customers with directions on how to switch providers in light of the severe weather.

“We know these high prices and record freezing temperatures can be alarming, which is why we want to share with you certain market updates to help you decide what is best for you and your family,” Griddy said on its website. “We expect daily electricity charges to be significantly higher through Tuesday. These are projections and the market could either improve or worsen depending on weather conditions.

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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages power for 90 percent of Texas’s electric load and was unprepared for the frigid conditions of the storm. Residents’ energy needs surpassed the utility group’s energy supply which caused major issues.

Governor Greg Abbott told reporters at a Thursday press conference, “I’m taking responsibility for the current state of ERCOT.”

“We have already begun the process to make sure that events like this never again happen in Texas and that starts with reforming the agency in charge of electric reliability in Texas, which is ERCOT,” Abbott said.

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