The historic winter storm that caused Texas’ power grid to fail may be subsiding, but the consequences will continue for weeks as residents learn about their impossibly high electricity bills.
NBC News reported Friday on the story of Jose Del Rio, whose electricity bill has steadily increased during the low temperatures. Del Rio is trying to sell a two-bedroom home that he no longer lives in, and was shocked to discover that his electricity bill was $630 this month instead of the typical $150. In addition to his account already being charged the higher amount, Del Rio has been told he owes an additional $2,600.
“If worse comes to worst, I have the ability to put it on a credit card or figure something out,” Del Rio told NBC. “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.”
Del Rio’s electric company is Griddy, which NBC reported has been telling customers to temporarily switch providers because their prices are controlled by the market and have spiked. Because of the recent winter storm and the need for additional energy consumption, Griddy’s prices have jumped to more than $9,000 per megawatt hour. The cost is usually $50 per megawatt hour during the winter season.
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The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which manages power for about 90 percent of the state’s electric load, was unprepared for the frigid conditions of the past two weeks: The primary electric grid was hit with off-the-charts demand for power as Texans tried to heat their homes — demand that outpaced utility officials’ highest estimates for an extreme peak load.
“I’m taking responsibility for the current status of ERCOT,” Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters on Thursday.
Customers outside the ERCOT service area have also been hit with sticker shock. Veronica Garcia, a Reliant Energy customer in Mansfield, Texas, told NBC News her bill is projected to be twice as much as she typically pays a month for electricity. She last paid $63 on Feb. 11 to power her one-bedroom apartment, but her bill is projected to be between $114 and $133 in March, according to documents reviewed by NBC News.
As The Daily Wire’s Charlotte Pence Bond reported last week, natural gas and gasoline futures increased due to the storm.
“The storm that has crippled the Midwest and North East was much worse than expected,” Jeff Kilburg, CEO at KKM Financial, told the outlet. “Frigid temps and speculators caught short are dramatically moving futures prices higher.”
Reports indicated that millions of Texans were without power last week, and that the collapse of the state’s power grid affected millions in Mexico as well.
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