Texas Griddy Customers Owe Nothing for Outstanding, Sky High Energy Bills
Winter Storm Uri was a disaster in more ways than one. Not only did it leave millions of Texans without power, heat, or running water, but it left some folks with ridiculously high energy bills - many of whom didn't even have electricity service for days or even weeks.
One company in particular, Griddy, became the face of everything wrong with the Texas consumer electricity industry. Now, Griddy customers can breathe a sigh of relief.
You're Off the Hook
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office announced Monday (Aug. 30) that a settlement has been approved in the state's lawsuit against Griddy Energy, LLC.
Under the terms, former Griddy customers are now officially released "from any and all outstanding balances otherwise due and owing to Griddy, unless they elect to opt out of the release". I'm not sure why you'd opt out, but hey, to each their own.
Note: The settlement only waives charges incurred between February 15, 2021 and February 19, 2021.
Griddy May Owe You Money
The settlement also allows for former customers to pursue legal claim in bankruptcy court to recover any money they may have already paid for electricity they were billed for during the above period.
Bills Become Ridiculous
See that image up above? That's the bill received by one of our employees, who was a Griddy customer at the time Texas become Hoth.
You're reading his screen correctly: He was charged $3,999.38.
Griddy provided customers with access to wholesale electricity prices with no contracts.
That sounds great, right?
Well, maybe during times when demand is relatively low. However, demand obviously skyrocketed to unprecedented levels as the winter storm rolled in, with prices reaching as high as $9,000 per megawatt-hour.
In fact, Griddy even warned customers to leave as Uri was starting to put its icy claws into Texas.
Well, that remains to be seen. We've seen a lot of talk about beefing up Texas' grid and reforming the system to protect Texans from (or at least better prepare us for) another energy crisis like that we experienced back in February.
Tweaks to policy have included a requirement that members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) board be residents of Texas who actually live here, and Governor Greg Abbott recently appointed the CEO of Buc-ee's to a seat on the council's board.
Meanwhile, two Texas Senate bills requiring the weatherization of power generators and upgrades to transmission lines are set to take effect, but some are wondering if Texas is really doing enough.
Will we really be prepared for another big freeze? Unfortunately, this is looking like a "guess we'll find out" situation.