(CBSDFW.COM) – As the effects of last week’s winter storms continue, many Texas residents are seeing “skyrocketing” power bills, according to Gov. Greg Abbott, and are wondering if they will have to pay them.
The storms brought outages that left millions without power for days and led to backlash toward the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which many said wasn’t prepared for the conditions.READ MORE: ERCOT Shuts Down Wholesale Electricity Provider Griddy In Texas
After power was restored by Friday for a majority of those affected, residents are now facing spikes in their energy bills. One Dallas resident, DeAndre Upshaw, said he received a nearly $7,000 bill from his utility company, Griddy.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg condemned residents having to be stuck with the high costs.READ MORE: Texas Lawmakers Call On Public Utility Commission Chair To Resign
“It would be unconscionable for bills to go up and bills to be put on the backs of residents of the state that have been suffering and freezing in their homes for the last week through no fault of their own. This was a total failure by the state’s energy management and they need to be held accountable and in doing so, certainly not put the cost of this crisis on the backs of Texans,” Nirenberg told CNN. “You know, as far as I’m concerned that bill should be sent to ERCOT and there will be hell to pay if there is any notion that the residents of this state should pay for this disaster.”
On Sunday, Abbott announced the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) issued a moratorium that halts power disconnections due to non-payments and restricts electric companies from sending invoices at this time. He said the moratorium will be in place to provide time in finding solutions to the billing challenges.MORE NEWS: Plumber Shortage, Supply Chain Issues Delay North Texas Winter Storm Repairs
“The issue with utility bills and the skyrocketing prices that so many homeowners and renters are facing is the top priority for the Texas Legislature right now… yesterday through today, they’ve been working around the clock on solutions. That’s exactly why the Public Utility Commission put a halt on any further increases,” Abbott said.