A Texas woman is suing her electricity provider after she got a $9,000 power bill amid statewide power outages

Kelly McLaughlin
·3 min read
winter storm 8
Pike Electric service trucks line up after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images
  • Lisa Khoury, of Texas, is at the forefront of a proposed class-action lawsuit against Griddy Energy.

  • The class-action lawsuit is seeking $1 billion in damages.

  • The lawsuit accuses Griddy of price gouging during last week's winter storm.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Texas woman has filed a proposed $1 billion class action lawsuit against an electricity provider after she received a $9,000 power bill in the wake of a winter storm that left millions of people without power.

Lisa Khoury, who lives in Mont Belvieu, a suburb outside Houston, is accusing Griddy Energy of unlawful price gouging in the lawsuit, saying the company sold electricity at high prices during last week's winter storm and in doing so "exploited vulnerable consumers by selling electricity at excessive prices," according to the complaint, seen by Insider.

Griddy uses a wholesale model to charge customers, in which plans are tied to a market rate. During the storm, the market rate of electricity surged.

"Griddy charged Khoury in the middle of a disaster. She and her husband mostly were without power in their home from Wednesday, February 17, 2021, to Thursday, February 18, 2021. At the same time, Khoury hosted her parents and in-laws, who are in their 80s, during the storm. Even then, she continued to minimize any power usage because of the high prices," the complaint says.

Khoury's lawyers said in a press release that the family's electricity bill from February 13 to February 19 totaled $9,340, when their normal monthly bill ranges between $200 and $250.

Khoury's lawyers said Griddy made withdrawals from Khoury's account daily until she put a stop-payment order on her bank account.

As part of the lawsuit, Khoury and other members of the proposed class are seeking $1 billion in damages.

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to prevent Griddy from "billing and collecting payments from customers charged with excessive prices," and has asked the company to "fully forgive" any late or nonpayments from customers.

"The case is tremendously important to the firm as it allows us to represent the people of our state who have now endured not one but two natural disasters at the same time, the storm plus Covid 19," Derek Potts, who is representing Khoury, told Insider. "What happened financially to all of the customers of Griddy both in terms of the exorbitant prices charged and the manner in that they were collected from peoples' bank accounts and credit cards literally in the middle of a catastrophe while many were without power, heat, and water, is clearly contrary to Texas laws in place to protect consumers."

Griddy did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, but the company called the lawsuit "meritless" in a statement to the Dallas Morning News.

On its website, the company has declined allegations of price gouging and blamed the Public Utility Commission for putting in place "a non-market pricing mechanism for electricity mandating prices reaching as high as hundreds of times normal prices."

Read the original article on Insider