Five members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors, including the chair, resigned from their positions Tuesday, effective at the conclusion of Wednesday’s board meeting, according to filings with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
[Original story, published at 1:44 p.m. ET]
For many Texans, basic necessities like clean running water and a stable electricity provider may seem like a pipe dream right now.
At least 29 Texans were killed during the storm. That’s more than half of the 56 weather-related deaths nationally.
While most Texas now have power, some of their electric providers will no longer be available.
And more than 7 million people have water disruptions, including warnings to boil water before using it or having no running water at all.
Sky-high electric bills
The frigid weather caused power use to skyrocket and forced several retail electric providers to leave the market, said Andrew Barlow, spokesperson for the Public Utilities Commission.
It’s not clear how many customers will need to move to new power companies. But across Texas, skyrocketing energy costs have led to astronomical electric bills.
After the first two weeks of February, she was automatically charged $1,346.17 — which was more than she had in her checking account.
“This whole thing has been a nightmare,” she told KPRC.
Hosford told the station she chose to pay wholesale for power, an option in which prices fluctuate based on demand. But those prices soared when the temperature hit record lows and power sources were damaged.
DeAndrew Upshaw said he was charged $6,700 for power to his 900-square-foot townhome, and some of his friends can’t pay their rent due to automatic power bill payments.
Texas’ utility regulator, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said Saturday it was investigating “the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes.”
Federal, state and some local assistance
He said the state Public Utility Commission issued a moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment.
“Texans who have suffered through days of freezing cold without power should not be subjected to skyrocketing energy bills due to a spike in the energy market,” Abbott said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced a relief fund Monday for Houston and Harris County residents to help cover costs that the federal and state governments won’t pick up.
The fund will support individuals as well…