The mass of cold weather paralyzed part of the southern and central states last week claimed the lives of more than 70 people, leaving millions of residents temporarily without electricity and freezing water pipes.
“Everything that happened this week was anticipated and avoidable,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS. According to him, it has long been clear that Texas ’independent power grid is vulnerable to extreme weather.
Mr Turner emphasized that Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, was in dire need of spare parts and plumbing and plumbing for plumbing and sanitation systems, but that water supplies were gradually being restored.
In both Houston and the nearby city of Galveston, instructions to residents to boil drinking water had already been revoked on Sunday.
However, on Sunday, about 28 thousand. homes were still left without electricity, according to data from the website Poweroutage.us. In addition, many Texans have received an extra glimpse: unusually large sums, sometimes reaching thousands of dollars, have been recorded in the electricity bills of some residents. One household consumed electricity for as much as 16 thousand. dollars (13.2 thousand euros).
Most consumers in this state pay for electricity at fixed rates. However, some contracts are based on variable tariffs, which allow for savings when the weather is favorable, but significantly inflate billing in the event of frost.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott met with lawmakers from both major parties on Saturday to discuss the issue of large bills. “We have a responsibility to protect Texas people from sudden increases in their energy bills,” he said.
Mr Turner, for his part, stated that “these usurious expenses [turėtų būti] paid by the state of Texas, not individual consumers, because they did not cause the catastrophe. ”
President Joe Biden declared the state of a major natural disaster in much of Texas on Saturday. This step opens up much-needed financial and administrative assistance to the affected areas.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Sunday that Biden hopes to visit Texas as early as next week if he can do so without disrupting reconstruction efforts.
Texas-elected Republican MP Michael McCaul said the financial consequences of the weather crisis could equate to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, estimated at $ 125 billion. dollars.
According to him, Biden’s order to declare an emergency could provide funds for consumers who have received unbearably high electricity bills.
State and local officials demanded an investigation into how this unexpected electricity crisis developed.
Minnesota-elected Democrat Senator Tina Smith has called for a federal inquiry. According to her, the price of gas purchase spot transactions was up to 100 times higher than usual, and utilities have passed these costs on the shoulders of consumers without any scrupulousness.
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