The mayor of Houston called on the Texas authorities to pay the huge electricity bills that residents received due to frosts last week.
Sylvester Turner told CBS News that residents were not to blame for the system’s inability to cope.
Some residents report bills in excess of $ 16,000 in just a few days of use.
Temperatures dropped to a 30-year low, reaching -18 ° C.
Much of Texas, which usually has much warmer winters, has been covered in snow.
Unusually cold weather in several southern states has claimed at least 70 lives.
Texas is recovering from record low temperatures, but many residents still have to boil water due to possible water contamination caused by low network pressure.
Texas is one of the few states in the United States that has an independent power grid. So when the cold came and he ran out of energy, he could not get support from neighboring states.
As a result, the Texas Utilities Commission decided at an emergency meeting last Monday to raise the price of energy.
This change has not affected people who pay for electricity at a fixed rate. However, people who use variable rate rates and who may be cheaper in the short term when the weather is stable have been hit hard by the increase and are now facing sky-high costs.
Millions of Texas residents have been cut off from electricity. In general, electricity supply in the state has already been restored, but just under 30,000 consumers were still without electricity on Sunday, according to Poweroutage.us.
The Texas Board of Reliable Electricity, which oversees much of the state’s power system, is accused of being unprepared for power outages.
All savings went to payment
Dallas resident and U.S. Army veteran Scott Willowby told the New York Times that he received a $ 16,000 bill to pay for all his savings.
Mayor Turner told CBS that he had submitted a bill to the state parliament to provide a “sufficient reserve” of electricity, but state officials did not consider it.
The mayor of the country’s fourth largest city has suggested that the system is unable to cope with the challenges of storms caused by climate change.
“All this was predictable. I wrote about it in 2011. And because of these exorbitant costs, they should not be borne by consumers,” said the mayor. “They are not to blame for what happened this week.”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price also told CBS that bill assistance should come from the Texas government and the federal government.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called for measures to ensure that Texans “do not fall into the trap of sky-high energy bills.”
“We are responsible for protecting Texans from surges in their electricity bills as a result of severe winter weather and power outages,” he said after meeting with lawmakers.
President Joe Biden announced a major disaster regime in Texas on Saturday that will allow more federal funds to be used to help the state.
“Assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the White House said in a statement.
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