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Texas officials launch inquiry into “skyrocketing” energy bills after winter storm

February 21, 2021

Officials in Texas announced Saturday investigations into the causes of the state’s widespread power outages and an energy bills spike following the state’s winter storms crisis.

Why it matters: Millions of Texans lost power and water during last week’s storms. The cost of power rose from roughly $50 per Megawatt to $9,000, WFAA reports, noting some Texans were facing bills of up to $17,000 so far this month.


What’s happening: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement after holding an emergency meeting with the state’s Republican and Democratic legislative members it’s “unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs.”

  • The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the state’s utility regulator, announced Saturday that it has opened an investigation “into the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes.”
“The Commission also unanimously approved a series of steps designed to protect retail electric customers feeling the financial effects of the ERCOT grid event.”
PUCT statement

Of note: Abbott has called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) “kind of opaque, the way it’s run,” prompting critics to argue that the agency operates under his leadership.

What to watch: Abbott said he’s working with the lawmakers and the lieutenant governor “to develop solutions to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for unreasonable spikes in their energy bills.”

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