- Texas residents have faced sky-high electric bills during this winter season.
- Griddy says that the Texas Public Utility Commission is responsible for the high rates.
- Over 80 people have died due to hypothermia in Texas.
Griddy, a Texas electricity supplier has blamed the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for raising the maximum capped rate for electricity, a decision that led to skyrocketing electricity bills for its customers since January. According to the company statement, the previous tariff was capped at $1,200 per megawatt-hour but was, later on, hiked to $9,000 per megawatt hour.
Exorbitant fees led to a wave of complaints and lawsuits during the recent Texas winter crisis which left over 4 million homes and businesses in the state without power. Unfortunately, most households that had access to electricity had to pay top-dollar for the privilege.
Many customers of other wholesale electricity providers also faced the same situation and had to pay electricity bills running into thousands of dollars. According to Griddy, the deregulation of the rates is what ultimately led to a billing crisis.
As things stand, retail and wholesale companies in Texas can charge their customers a premium without consequences due to this factor. The policy was initially enacted to reduce demand for power during peak hours, but a major power grid collapse had never been a factored in.
Wholesale prices usually range at about 3 cents per kilowatt for wholesale customers but the recent turn of events meant that customers were paying up to $9 per hour.
As relayed by Griddy, the company will be pushing legislators on the issue of price regulation.
“The market is supposed to set the prices, not political appointees. We 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,” the company said.
Anthony Shaw, the founder of the Progeneration Energy, another electricity solutions company has shared Griddy’s sentiments. He made the following statement in the aftermath of the crisis.
”(The system) has worked really well, as capitalism kind of, in theory, is supposed to, until it doesn’t. And when it breaks, it breaks really, really bad. In this case, that’s what we’ve seen.”
One Texas resident found himself with a $17,000 bill that was automatically billed to his bank account by his electricity provider.
Scott Willoughby, who spoke on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday said that hundreds of thousands of Texans were likely to default on their electricity bills which averaged at about $5,000 per household over the seven-day power failure period.
“For a lot of people that [bill] will impact them devastatingly. No food on the table for their kids, no rent or house payments or car payments –and there’s no recourse because the money’s gone,” he said.
As temperatures fell and snowstorms whipped through the state, much of the region’s power grid collapsed. In a matter of hours, millions of Texans found themselves stranded in homes that grew colder by the hour. At least 86 people have died due to hypothermia in the state.