As Texas deep freeze subsides, some households now face electricity bills as high as $10,000
“The last thing an awful lot of people need right now is a higher electric bill — and that’s unfortunately something a lot of people will get stuck with.”
An Oncor Electric Delivery crew works on restoring power to a neighborhood following the winter storm that passed through Texas Feb. 18, 2021, in Odessa, Texas.Eli Hartman / Odessa American via APFeb. 19, 2021, 1:52 PM MST / Updated Feb. 19, 2021, 2:06 PM MSTBy Leticia Miranda
As the Texas power grid collapsed under a historic winter storm, Jose Del Rio of Haltom City, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, saw the electricity bill on a vacant two-bedroom home he is trying to sell slowly creep up over the past two weeks. Typically, the bill is around $125 to $150 a month, he said. But his account has already been charged about $630 this month — and he still owes another $2,600.
“If worse comes to worst, I have the ability to put it on a credit card or figure something out,” Del Rio said. ”There is no one living in that house. All the lights are off. But I have the air at 60 because I don’t want the pipes to freeze.”
When he contacted Griddy, his electric company, they advised him to switch providers, Del Rio said.
Griddy’s prices are controlled by the market, and are therefore vulnerable to sudden swings in demand. With the extreme weather, energy usage has soared, pushing up wholesale power prices to more than $9,000 per megawatt hour — compared to the seasonal average of $50 per megawatt hour.
In the face of the soaring costs, Griddy has been directing consumers to consider temporarily switching electricity providers to save on their bills.
Griddy did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which manages power for about 90 percent of the state’s electric load, was unprepared for the frigid conditions of the past two weeks: The primary electric grid was hit with off-the-charts demand for power as Texans tried to heat their homes — demand that outpaced utility officials’ highest estimates for an extreme peak load.
“I’m taking responsibility for the current status of ERCOT,”