What can you do about sudden utility bills?

A frosty winter window with ice patterns and a thermometer showing low temperature.

The severe winter storm and bitter cold that ravaged Texas and much of the South caused widespread suffering. So far, nearly 80 people have died, and millions of days have passed without freezing temperatures without electricity and water.

It was the result of the facilities infrastructure that it was Unable to handle surprisingly cold temperatures. We are still out of arguing over who is wrong.

However, for some Texans lucky enough to keep the lights on, there was no silver lining. This is because some of the people who chose to go with the wrong electricity supplier in the unregulated Texas energy market have been hit with thousands of dollars of bills.

Very low offer, very high demand

Temperatures have fallen, and Texans have raised their temperatures. As the extreme cold caused the power plants to stop operating, the energy demand remained the same, but the supply decreased.

In most states, you only have one option when it comes to who you pay for electricity and gas. You pay a flat rate per kilowatt-hour, and your bill reflects that. If there are supply differences, many energy companies will try to publicize the price change over a period of months.

Texas, however, has plenty of options when it comes to their facilities. Some choose to partner with energy companies that charge wholesale prices. The sales idea is that these plans are, for the most part, cheaper. However, the price you pay is variable as well.

as a result of, When the price of electricity sometimes reaches the maximum limit that is legally permissible At $ 9 a kilowatt-hour, people paying wholesale rather than fixed rates have seen their bills rise.

The highest and worst bills imaginable

The news is now filled with testimonials from Texans who have watched in awe of their electricity bills in real time. One man already has it Almost $ 17,000 deducted from his bank account Powered by Griddy Electric Corporation.

Special education teacher Who is the asthenia During a storm Two owes around $ 7,000.

Another Texas woman, who received a $ 9,000 bill, Previously, he filed a class-action lawsuit against Griddy To manipulate prices. Griddy, who blames the Texas Public Utilities Commission for setting extremely high rates, said it “stands by” its angry clients, calling the lawsuit “unworthy”.

Is this legal?

Technically, the problems of exorbitant energy bills reflect the free market working “as it should”. Texas Gov. Dan Patrick echoed that when He told Fox News People are now stuck with high bills. “They bet very low … People need to read the exact letters on those types of bills.”

Although he won’t win any sensitivity points, Patrick isn’t wrong when it comes to reading fine texts. Just like any contract you sign – mortgage, cell phone, plane ticket, etc. – you need to know what you are signing for.

However, Patrick and Texas authorities aren’t a bunch of curmudgeons. Gov. Greg Abbott and a group of state lawmakers have pledged to hold hearings and assist the taxpayer. Currently, invoices are issued and customers disconnect in case of non-payment spoon.

If lawmakers don’t come up with a solution, there may be little that consumers can do besides filing a lawsuit. The director of the University of Houston’s Center for Consumer Law, Richard Alderman, says higher prices could run counter to consumer protection laws in Texas.

Alderman said: “Will anyone in their right mind sign a contract that they know this will happen? In my opinion, no.” “There is a decent claim that these contracts are unreasonable.”

There is an additional argument that consumers have no say in poorly maintained infrastructure that cannot meet the demands of winter. If it hadn’t happened, the rates wouldn’t have gone up, and the bills would have been a bit higher, but not nearly as far as this month.

What’s Next?

Even if wage payers get the rest, the bills will likely rise for everyone, even the flat rate payers. One Minnesota gas company is already warning customers It will see an increase in bills later this year.

Denton, Texas that buys energy directly at wholesale prices, He received a four-day bill for $ 207 million, Near Denton Municipal Electric’s annual budget. Without some relief, this law will likely be passed on to consumers.

So, winter has come, and it will come again.

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