As record low temperatures keep Texas under a punishing layer of snow and ice, some of the millions who faced the polar vortex without power are now beginning to see the lights come back on.
While residents of the Lone Star state are glad to have the life-saving utility back on, many are left with even bigger worries now that the energy is flowing once again.
The first warning came as the winter weather froze Texas to the core over the weekend.
According to The Daily Beast, one energy provider in the state urged customers to switch services as pressure from the winter storm increased.
Griddy, a Texas utility company that offers residents energy at wholesale market prices for a flat monthly fee, warned those relying on it that the massive demand for power would soon send prices through the roof.
Although this seems like an easy task, most found that other power companies were more interested in keeping their own infrastructure online than adding new customers to an already taxed system.
Those who chose to stay with Griddy (and those who couldn’t find an alternative service) soon found that the laws of supply and demand apply to energy just as much as anything else.
“I paid $450 for one day,” Griddy customer Akilah Scott-Amos told the Daily Beast. “I was in shock.”
Soon, her bill skyrocketed. The $450 soon turned to a whopping $2,869 sum as Scott-Amos was charged thousands to keep warm and connected.
Griddy’s customers found that as demand for power soared amid the raging storm, the normal $50 per megawatt-hour price quickly adjusted to match the going market rate — which climbed to over $9,000 per megawatt-hour.
Bills from other customers dwarf Scott-Amos’ owed amount, with one Texan man even on the hook for over $7,000 after only a few days of use — and $8,162.73 total for the month of February.
While many are clearly upset over the ballooning costs, having heat amid the frozen devastation in Texas is priceless.
Scott-Amos is angry about her bill, but admits it is “a double-edged sword.”
“Thankfully we have power,” she said, “but at what price?
“We are using it minimally and getting charged thousands. Most people I know don’t even have power, and I’m getting these outrageous bills.”
Prices are sure to drop as the wintery mix shutting down Texas and much of the Heartland melts. With roads clearing up and workers busy getting states running again, the polar vortex will soon just be a bad memory for most.
Although snow and freezing temperatures are still in the forecast for much of America, it seems we have already weathered the worst this storm had to offer.
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