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A new crisis arose after a deadly winter storm devastated Texas. The storm killed 55 people in seven states, including 31 in the Lone Star State, where residents are now facing very high electricity bills.

One of those who takes the shock of stickers is Megan O’Neill, a new mom. She was using Griddy for her electricity, a variable rate company that billed her $ 4,500 for five days of electricity last week.

“I’m crying in my bed, I’m going, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said.

O’Neill said she knew rates could go up, but not to that extreme.

“They fluctuate every day,” she said. “But some days it’s $ 0.35, some days it’s $ 0.98. I didn’t know it would be $ 1,400 for one day. I didn’t even know it was possible.”

Anticipating price spikes, the company encouraged customers to switch suppliers, but for O’Neill and others, it was too late.

It’s a different nightmare for Tabitha Charlton, whose pipes burst while at home with her 7-year-old twins.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, not yet. I can’t do this anymore, ”Charlton said.

Charlton’s house in the Houston area was also flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. She just settled the claim with her insurance company 12 days ago.

“I can deal with the damage. It can be fixed, ”she said. “But another three and a half year battle with the insurance company, I don’t have that in me.”

The plumbers’ wait extends until April. To help with the workload, Texas is soliciting plumbers from other states, granting provisional licenses and waiving fees.

Repairing the damage will be enormously expensive, but the human toll is much worse. At least 55 deaths have been reported in the states, including 11 Christian Pavon, died in his family’s unheated mobile home in Conroe, Texas. His family is suing the state’s electricity grid operator and their utility company for more than $ 100 million.

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