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Dallas News reports that Griddy, which ties its prices to the spot price of power in Texas, cautioned customers that prices would surge as a result of the storm. Despite the warning, customers had to go through a multiple-day process in order to switch providers. One particuar customer, Karen Cosby, said that she received a bill for $5,000 for her usage between Feb. 13 and Feb. 19. Dallas resident DeAndre Upshaw also received a similar bill.
Spot electricity prices sky-rocketed during the storm, with Griddy informing 29,000 customers on Feb. 13 after the prices had already risen about the costs. NBC News reports that Jose Del Rio from Haltom City received a $630 bill for a vacant two-bedroom home he is wanting to sell, up from the typical $125 to $150 a month he would otherwise pay. “There is no one living in that house. All the lights are off,” he told NBC News. “But I have the air at 60 because I don’t want the pipes to freeze.” When he called up Griddy, he was simply told his best bet would be to switch providers.
The seasonal average of wholesale prices in Texas is typically around $50 per megawatt-hour, but at its peak during the storm prices rose to over $9,000 per megawatt-hour. While many were seeing prices as high as $5,000 for just over a week’s worth of electricity, Royce Pierce of Willow Park, Dallas said his family’s bill is expected to reach $10,000. “We are hoping there will be relief,” he added. “This something maybe we can skate by and tackle as time goes on but how many people can’t? A lot.”
“Griddy is continuing these efforts and is committed to crediting customers for any relief, dollar-for-dollar," said Griddy in a statement. On Saturday, President Biden declared Texas to be a major disaster area. The mass power outages and water shortages have left many in the cold, and many have expressed frustration at the local authorities’ failure to act on the hardship the storm has inflicted on the residents of Texas.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot, for instance, received criticism after he blamed the power outages on the Green New Deal and green energy sources. Colorado City mayor Tim Boyd has resigned due to public pressure after he called people struggling to survive the unprecedented winter storms “lazy.” Sen. Ted Cruz has also been met with calls for him to resign after photos surfaced showing him on a flight to Cancun amid the crisis.