Ivet Candu (45) from Dallas (Texas) has never had such a high electricity bill. She will pay 3,114 US dollars – the equivalent of around 2800 francs – for her electricity consumption between February 1 and 18.
And she’s not the only one.
As soon as the electricity flowed again after the mega blackout, numerous Texans received bills of astronomical heights. A young man reported on CNN: “I woke up at night and had nine emails saying that money was being loaded onto my electricity account again – a hundred dollars each time.” In the end, his bill came to 7,000 US dollars (around 6300 francs).
The highest known bill to date was received by a 63-year-old veteran who lives on social benefits: he is supposed to pay 16,752 US dollars (around 15,000 francs) – 70 times as much as what he would otherwise pay in the same period. “My savings are gone,” said Scott Willoughby of the “New York Times”. “I can’t do anything about it, that ruined me.”
This is how the mega electricity bills came about
“To blame” for the debacle is apparently a flexible contract model: Texans have the option of choosing between fixed prices and dynamic prices through the electricity provider Griddy – if consumption is generally lower, for example at night, electricity is also cheaper.
In times of need, however, the dynamic prices were the undoing of consumers. Because a third of the households in Texas were without electricity at the beginning of the week, the demand exploded relatively – and the prices skyrocketed.
The electricity provider Griddy was already expecting the mega prices in view of the expected winter storm. In the night from Sunday to Monday, it asked its 29,000 customers to change their electricity provider. But that was no longer possible for many on Monday morning. “Uri” raged until Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of households struggled with cold, darkness and a lack of emergency supplies.
Electricity provider justifies itself
The “Public Utility Commission of Texas” has set the electricity price at 9 US dollars per kilowatt hour – 300 times more than normal. On Friday, Griddy announced that it would ask the responsible power generation company Ercot (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) to reduce costs.
Griddy only resells the electricity and earns only 6.48 US dollars per bill – regardless of how high the bill is, said managing director Michael Fallquist of the Bloomberg news agency. However, it is not the first scandal surrounding the business model. Even in the hot summer of 2019, consumers were confronted with high electricity costs.
According to Bloomberg, the incident is “unique” nationwide. Electricity trading is completely deregulated in the second largest US state. This also led to the mega blackout last week. For reasons of cost, Texas and Ercot had not tested the power plants for weather resistance. In addition, the US state has not connected its power supply to neighboring states in order to circumvent federal regulations, and therefore cannot be supported with an emergency power supply.
Politicians are demanding quick help for customers
Politicians want to take action so that consumers do not have to sit on mega electricity bills after the mega blackout. At the weekend, Governor Greg Abbott (63, Republican) called an emergency meeting with MPs on the matter.
Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner (66, Democrats) said according to “Time” on Sunday that the state of Texas would have to pay for the “exorbitant costs” of repairs and bills for consumers after the winter storm. Attorney General Ken Paxton, 58, Republican has already opened an investigation into the blackouts and has issued civil inquiries to companies like Griddy.
[ source link ]
mega blackout Texas Zoff crazy electricity bills