Texas is finally thawing, reaching above freezing temperatures, after a historic winter storm swept the state during the week of Feb. 14, killing dozens.
Now, as Texans struggle to recover from the deep freeze that left most without electricity, heat, water, and food, residents are facing shocking price hikes in their energy bills, CNN reports.
The surprising increases came after the Public Utility Commission of Texas held an emergency meeting on Monday (Feb. 15) “to raise energy prices in order to reflect supply constraints driven by heightened demand during the winter storm,” according to Forbes. Some residents have received bills as much as $17,000, the report notes.
Officials Public Utility Commision of Texas (PUCT) said on Saturday (Feb. 20) that they are investigating “the factors that [is] combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes.”
The state is home to the nation's only state-operated, deregulated power grid, Forbes notes.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is holding an emergency meeting as well to investigate the problem.
“To protect families, I am actively working with the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House and members of the Legislature to develop solutions to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for unreasonable spikes in their energy bills.”
Railroad Commission of Texas said in a statement on Friday (Feb. 19) it is working to help keep natural gas flowing into the state. This effort will try to avoid any dangerously high and unusual bills for customers in the upcoming weeks.
"Texans have gone through enough hardship during this winter storm without having to worry about unexpected additional energy costs," Commissioner Wayne Christian said in the statement. "Our agency will do everything in our power to ensure utilities have plenty of time to get caught up on these unexpected expenses, so consumers are not unduly burdened."