Arlington, Texas resident Ty Williams didn't lose power during last week's winter storm disaster—but he may be wishing he did after receiving a $17,000 power bill. And he's not alone. A growing number of energy customers in the Lone Star State, still reeling from unusually powerful storms that knocked out power for millions, have reported receiving bills in the thousands, per the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The problem is so widespread that Gov. Greg Abbott is making time in his no doubt packed schedule to call an emergency meeting on this issue with state officials. “It is unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs,” Abbott said in a statement.
Per KDFW, spiking bills aren't an issue for most Texans. The problem arises for customers who've opted to buy power wholesale rather than signing long-term contracts to receive fixed rates. More specifically, the wholesale energy company Griddy appears to be taking the most heat from customers with inflated bills—so much so that they've told their customers to switch providers. KTRK reports that the energy provider emailed 29,000 subscribers telling them to get their power elsewhere, or expect massive bills. In a statement, the company seemed to divert blame onto state regulators, saying they“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.” (Read more Texas stories.)