Tuesday, February 23, 2021

In Texas, after the cold snap, the scourge of electric bills


Published on :

Houston (United States) (AFP)

Millions of people were still without drinking water Sunday in Texas, where elected officials rose up against the astronomical rise in the cost of electricity linked to the lethal cold snap that hit the country.

If 30,000 homes were still without electricity on Sunday, the rescue teams having not yet been able to repair all the power lines blown down by the bad weather, according to the poweroutage site, many Texans are now facing another problem: bills of exorbitant energy, up to $ 16,000.

Texas is indeed the only state whose energy distribution network operates in a vacuum, and its electricity market is completely deregulated. Many homes have contracts whose monthly price varies according to demand, and the latter exploded with the cold snap.

“These bills, these prohibitive costs should be paid by the State of Texas, and not by the individual consumers who are not responsible for this catastrophe”, launched Sunday Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston – the fourth American city, on NBC .

“Everything that happened this week was predictable and preventable,” he added, adding that it has long been clear that Texas’ independent power grid is vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

“We have a responsibility to protect Texans from increases in their energy bills which are the result of very harsh winter weather and power cuts,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott also assured Saturday.

President Joe Biden has signed a new declaration of emergency for Texas, releasing funds that could help pay residents’ electricity bills, according to Republican elected official Michael McCaul.

“It’s the current plan, with federal assistance, to be able to help homeowners,” he told CNN.

In the meantime, federal and local authorities in Texas have called for an investigation into this energy crisis.

Democratic Senator Tina Smith, for her part, called for the opening of a federal investigation into the exponential jump in natural gas prices during the polar cold wave across the United States, in Texas but also in the Midwest.

The cities of Houston and Galveston, however, on Sunday lifted their recommendation to residents to boil water before consuming it.

This extreme weather episode, which has wreaked havoc across the southern and central United States this week, has claimed the lives of at least 70 people, according to US media.



#Texas #cold #snap #scourge #electric #bills

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