- Consumers in Texas are facing higher payments after the storm in the area
- Many people went to social media to show their electricity bills as high as $ 8,000
- This phenomenon is unique to Texas, where the retail energy industry is completely regulated.
After enduring an unfortunate week of Arctic storms, famine and cold, several Texas people were given another painful place – the huge electricity bill.
David Astraine, a 36-year-old director of human resources at a manufacturing company, said he had charged $ 2,738.66 so far this month, compared to $ 129.85 in January for a three-bedroom house with a separate garage. He and his wife stopped using their dishwashers, washing machines and dryers and turned on as many lights as possible at night. They gave warmth to their 5-month-old son.
Asterine is one of the highest-paying consumers in the aftermath of a storm – with many turning to social media to show their electricity bills as high as $ 8,000. According to their screenshots, many are Gridi energy consumers, a power supplier with a unique business model.
Macquarie Energy-backed company charges electricity at real-time prices in the wholesale energy markets, exposing consumers to full speed. Gridi saw the problem growing and last weekend asked its retail customers to switch to another supplier. By Sunday, 20% had done so. But not asterine.
“We were stuck with Gridi and those astronomical prices,” he said over the phone. “The failure of Texas as a whole to adequately plan for this is now a financial emergency for all these clients for a program like Gridi.”
For Gridi, the business model meant that it received only a small cut in the AstraZeneca bill.
“I want to point out that Griddi earned only $ 6.48 on the total bill of $ 2,738.66,” CEO Michael Falkwist said in a text message. “We only earn $ 9.99 a month. All other fees have to be paid.”
But for some Gridi watchers, the anger comes as a surprise after receiving eye-watering bills with the massive summer of 2019. This phenomenon is unique to Texas, where the retail energy industry is completely regulated.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called an emergency meeting Saturday to work out a solution to the latest spike. He said he was working with members of the legislature to develop solutions to “ensure that Texas has no hook to unfairly raise energy bills.”
Republican Texas Representative Michael McCall said Sunday that the current plan is to use federal aid funds to help homeowners with post-storm repairs, such as water damage and pipe bursts, and surprise electricity bills. “Texan now desperately needs federal aid from the federal government,” he told CNN’s “Union State.”
Attorney General Ken Paxton has already launched an investigation into the power outages and has issued civil investigation requests to companies including Gridi.
In a February 18 blog post, Gridi said the Texas Public Utilities Commission forced the wholesale price to be $ 9 per kilowatt hour, which is 300 times higher than average.
“We know you are angry and so are we,” the blog said. “We intend to fight for this to do justice and accountability to our customers.”
Grudy said Friday that the Electricity Trust Council of Texas or Arcot and PUCT are looking for relief for customers exposed to high prices.
With the restoration of power in Texas, new websites have sprung up to help organize potential class action. At least four new domains are signaling that the target could be Arcot, which says it will run about 75% of government electricity.
Asterine planned to pay the bill with his own money, and Griddi said he had not received any relief or remedial plans. Griddi said on his website that from next month there will be “price protection” aimed at eliminating risk from future price events.
Joe Carroll, Noorin S. Supported by Malik, Philip Tabuwas and Rachel Adams-Herd.