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Why were Texans hit with high electric bills after the winter storm?

Posted at 3:59 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 18:11:55-05

WACO, TX — Millions were without power due to the Texas winter storm last week. Now, some say they are facing electricity bills more than quadruple their normal rate.

"I would say most people in the state are on a level payment plan where they pay X cents per kilowatt of electricity used," Associate Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M Central Texas, Rob Tennant said.

This is called wholesale pricing.

When demand went up due to the freezing power sources there was little power to give out, and so prices started to skyrocket.

Kilowatts that were based on cents turned into dollars and that's why invoices were seen in the thousands.

"These are the ones that you're seeing on TV and news, in your neighborhood people talking about really suffering with these abnormally high bills," Tennant said.

Even if your power was only on for a few hours, in that small time frame, your furnace or water heater were working double time to get it at a normal level.

"Their electric furnace was running the entire time and their hot water heater was running the entire time trying to reheat water it would be using the max amount of electricity that their house can use," Tennant said.

Governor Abbott and the Public Utilities Commission along with the Legislature all met to try and find a solution to these outrageous bills.

A moratorium on customer disconnection for non-payments was placed by the Public Utilities Commission as well as restricting electric providers from sending customer invoices at this time.

If you were hit with an electric shock and received a utility bill that is way higher than usual, Tennant suggests to keep in communication with your service provider.

"Keep the dialogue open and don't just bury the bill and hope that it goes away because that won't solve the problem," Tennant said.

As more information comes from the state on how to handle these high electricity bills, 25 News will update you.