After a week of subfreezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas met Sunday to issue a moratorium for energy companies to halt power disconnections for nonpayment. Additionally, the Texas PUC issued orders to continue COVID-19 measures to offer deferred payment plans to customers when requested. The commission also strongly urged retail electric providers to delay invoicing for residential and small commercial electricity customers.
“Our absolute top priority as a commission and a state is protecting electricity customers from the devastating effects of a storm that already affected their delivery of power,” said, Chairman DeAnn Walker.
This decision came after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other state representatives met Saturday, to discuss the spike in energy bills affecting many Texans following the recent power outages throughout the state.
“We have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages,” said Governor Abbott.
According to The Texas Tribune, both Abbott and the commission’s meetings happened in response to the growing number of Texans who are reporting receiving exorbitant electric bills despite not having power during the storm. In an interview with The New York Times, one Texas man said he received a $16,752 electric bill. According to Austin energy, not every Texan will see the spikes in their bills.