Millions of Texans Are Without Power as State Is Hit by Unprecedented Winter Storm
More than 2.8 million people were without power in the state as of Monday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.us
A Texas woman is suing a power company for alleged price gouging during Winter Storm Uri earlier this month after her electric bill came back over $9,000.
Lisa Khoury of Mont Belvieu, Texas, claims she received an electricity bill from Griddy Energy totaling $9,340 for the period between Saturday, Feb. 13 and Friday, Feb. 19, according to a press release from Potts Law Firm.
Khoury — whose average bill tends to be between $200 and $250 — alleges that Griddy began making automatic withdrawals from her bank account even after she attempted to reach out about the charges.
Her proposed class action lawsuit looks to garner monetary relief of more than $1 billion for "Texas residents who used electricity services from Griddy and were hit with excessive charges resulting from the storm," according to the law firm.
In a statement to customers, Griddy says, "While prices have returned to normal, we know the price event from last week was very difficult for many."
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"During this unprecedented storm many have asked us 'Is Griddy price gouging?' We've been asked this question enough times this week, that we feel we need to put it here: Of course not," says the company. "We charge you the wholesale, real-time price of energy, which changes every five minutes."
"We add to that the pre-set cost of delivering the energy to your home and the taxes and fees assessed on your energy," Griddy adds. "You effectively pay the same price as a retail energy provider or utility. No markups. No hidden fees. No contracts. That's it."
Gov. Greg Abbott, according to a press release from his office, is "working with members of the legislature to address skyrocketing energy bills that resulted from a temporary spike in the energy market."
Abbott is said to be "working quickly to calculate the total cost of these bills and find ways that the state can help reduce this burden. The Governor stated that the Public Utility Commission has issued a moratorium on customer disconnections for non-payment and will temporarily restrict providers from issuing invoices. This pause will ensure that the state has time to address these bills and develop a solution for Texans."
Millions of people in Texas lived for days without electricity, water and heat after winter storm Uri tore through the state. The historic storm has left families in the dark, battling freezing temperatures. The crisis is occurring during the coronavirus pandemic, which has already claimed the lives of over 40,000 Texans.