NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Temperatures in the triple digits mean higher electric bills.
But customers of one company are getting bills that are many times higher than the state average, in some cases, paying between $100 and $200 per day.
Houston-based company Griddy claims it’s the only “wholesale” electric provider in Texas.
But that doesn’t always mean customers are saving money.
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Griddy’s social media manager unleashed an expletive to describe the past week, before explaining why customers’ bills skyrocketed.
“It was due to a lot of high demand on the grid,” said Lauren Valdes, the social media manager for Griddy.
As a “wholesale” electric provider, Griddy touts the idea its customers can save hundreds of dollars annually by not paying the markup fee usually charged by other electric companies.
But when Michael Lemay opened his most recent bill, he pulled the plug.
“I had a $125 electricity cost for that one day,” said Lemay, referencing his tab for August 13.
Another customer said he got charged more than $180 for one day last week, then $272 the next day.
Other customers posting on Griddy’s Facebook page reported bills of nearly $700 for just the first half of August.
Griddy acknowledged that at times, rates for its customers spiked to the market cap of $9/kWh, which is more than 77 times what the average Texan paid last week, according to the Department of Energy.
On average, Griddy said its customers paid on average 15 cents/kWH last week, while Texas consumers on average paid 11 cents/kWh.
On its website, Griddy claims people living in apartments can save roughly $121 per year, while customers in small homes and large homes can save roughly $237 and $564 per year, respectively.
“I think it took everyone by surprise,” Lemay said.
To cut consumption, Griddy provided customers with a variety of suggestions which include turning off air conditioning units and leaving the house entirely.
“It’s really hot, and everyone’s turning everything on, and I don’t blame you guys,” Valdes said.
Griddy can also send price alerts directly to customers’ phones.
But for consumers like Lemay, who can’t control his thermostat remotely, it’s a tough sell to stay.
Griddy customers do not sign a contract so they can end their service at any time without early termination fees.
Customers become members by paying a monthly rate of $9.99. Griddy announced it will refund that August amount to customers and find other ways to trim its budget.
“Despite this August, we believe that members who are with Griddy for all of 2019 will still see savings against the Texas average as calculated by the US Department of Energy (EIA),” wrote Jeremy Zarowitz, Griddy’s vice president of marketing and analytics.
Zarowitz said wholesale prices have been unprecedented this month and higher than at any time in the market’s history.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is the entity that sets the wholesale price of electricity.
In March 2019, the Better Business Bureau contacted Griddy about the use of the word “wholesale” in its advertising.
The BBB claimed Griddy violated its code of advertising.
“The use of the word ‘wholesale’ is prohibited unless the company is, in fact, a wholesaler as defined in the Texas Business Commerce Code 17.11,” wrote the BBB, which defines the term as a person who sells for the purpose of resale and is not directly the general public.