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An unprecedented winter storm swept across the southern United States causing Texas, parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana to lose power and water for days in temperatures that dropped below -4F in some areas. Several dozen people have died so far but it is feared that there are more that just haven’t been found yet. So many grim stories came over the weekend. Texans are finding themselves crushed with disasters including loss of property, homes and lives. Some lost income because they couldn’t get into work or work from home without electricity and water. The federal government is sending in FEMA to assist, and the state is utilizing local disaster relief organizations. Houston native Beyonce created a partnership through her foundation BeyGood, with Adidas and Houston’s organization Bread of Life to provide Texans in need with aid up to $1000.
Texans are also facing price hikes and astronomical electricity bills due to deregulation of the service. Some people are receiving electric bills upward of $7000 for the use of energy over a several day period. Dallas, Texas resident DeAndre Shaw is one customer who was sent into shock when he received a $7000 bill in the mail. Another company, CPSE, stated that they will allow their customers to be on a 10+ year payment plan to pay off their energy debt. Below is more on the story from CNN:
Dallas resident DeAndre Upshaw said it was “very shocking” when he opened his latest electricity bill.
“While I’m trying to get gas and groceries and make sure that my pipes don’t explode, the last thing I’m thinking about is a $7,000 bill from my utility company,” Upshaw told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield via Skype Saturday.
As Texas struggles to recover from a deep freeze that has killed dozens, some customers in Texas like Upshaw are facing unprecedented price hikes in their energy bills as a result of the recent snow storm. Texas officials say they are investigating.
Texas’ utility regulator, Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), said Saturday that it is investigating “the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes.”
“It is unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs,” Abbott said. “To protect families, I am actively working with the Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker of the House and members of the Legislature to develop solutions to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for unreasonable spikes in their energy bills.”
One energy company called Griddy suggested that their customers look for another provider if the prices were too high.
Upshaw told CNN he attempted to switch from Griddy to another electric provider, but the new company kept pushing back his start date.
My mom lost her lights early Monday morning so she came to stay with me on Tuesday after sleeping in her below 17F apartment. My water and electricity went out Tuesday. My electricity was out until Wednesday evening and my water didn’t return until Friday. I had spotty cell service for several days and no Internet. All of the food in my refrigerator went bad so I lost a lot of food. My mom and I had to eat one meal a day for four days after waiting in hour long lines at fast food joints as they were the only places opened. Most of our grocery store chains were closed and without electricity we couldn’t cook anyway. We spent hours searching for bottled water in the city and we had to spend twice the amount we usually would to buy water at liquor stores and small mom and pop shops. A good friend of mine posted on Twitter that a co-worker was found dead in her apartment from hypothermia. I spent three days in a rage and dragging folks on twitter for telling Texans that this is our karma. Saying sh*t like that when people are in a crisis and trying to survive is petty, distasteful, and inhumane. It is the equivalent of Westboro Baptist Church at funerals. I also spent a lot of time dragging the hell out of he-goat ass #FledCruz for being a deserter and traitor. I can’t wait to vote him out of office in 2024.
But what sent me over the edge was natural gas and oil companies celebrating the surge in prices. Texans are dealing with astronomic energy bills. The fact that our energy sector has been deregulated since 2002 was news to me. The Republican lawmakers of the state were warned in 2011 that a situation like this could happen. This makes me so angry and sad. I personally cannot live in a society where money is more important than lives.
Those high bills are real. My mom received a text message from her energy company stating that many should expect higher than normal bills next month. The good news is there are several organizations like Baker Ripley and Catholic Charities who are giving up to $1600 to pay for utility bills. I hope that the federal government investigates the energy companies in Texas and the Republicans enabling them. I am also glad to see that Beyonce is doing her philanthropic thing as she has been the last few years, particularly in Houston. The money will help many impacted by this crisis. We definitely need to get Texas back on the federal grid. No state should have to experience what Texas, Louisiana, or Oklahoma has had to in the last two weeks. The loss of life alone should be a wake up call.
Visit @BreadoflifeH for more information on assistance.
We send our prayers to those impacted by the winter storm. pic.twitter.com/Tqpf7kxmij
— BeyGOOD (@BeyGood) February 19, 2021
A drilling company that operates in Texas and Louisiana told investors that the surge in natural gas prices — amid powerful winter storms — was giving it a major financial boost.
"Obviously, this week is like hitting the jackpot," CFO Roland Burns said.https://t.co/j2QxkFbBYn
— NPR (@NPR) February 19, 2021
Q – Is CPSE going to provide payment relief to customers?
A: We understand that it would be unacceptable to have customers bear the costs on their monthly bill, so we are working diligently to find ways to spread those costs to 10 years or longer to make it more affordable.
— CPS Energy (@cpsenergy) February 19, 2021
The Texas blackout isn’t just causing power and heating failures, it’s causing food insecurity all over the state.
If you can, consider donating at https://t.co/SoSaFCnCnt pic.twitter.com/WFeU60dskM
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 20, 2021
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