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Homeowners hit with massive electric bills amid Texas winter storm

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Texans say energy companies are on a power trip.

Electric bills in the Lone Star State skyrocketed to as high as $17,000 per month after a historic storm and power outage sparked a high demand for heat, according to reports Friday.

Dallas-area resident Ty Williams was hit with sticker shock when his monthly bill soared from $600 last month to nearly $17,000 so far this  month, according to the local station WFAA.

“How in the world can anyone pay that? I mean you go from a couple hundred dollars a month…there’s absolutely no way‚ it makes no sense,” Williams, who said he received the bill from the energy firm Griddy. 

The price of power in Texas spiked from $50 to $9,000 per Megawatt in some cases due to the supply and demand disaster, according to the station.

Customers with so-called “variable or indexed” electricity plans in Texas — the only state to run its own unique stand-alone electricity grid  — are partially controlled by market demand.

Oncor Electric Delivery linemen Brendan Waldon, left, Austin Strickland, center, and Payton Merket, right, share a conversation as they wait for a new work order after repairing a utility pole damaged by snow and ice Thursday.
Because of the demand for power in Texas, there were some cases where prices per megawatt jumped to $9000.
Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

That caused prices to increase as Texans who didn’t lose power cranked up the heat amid brutally cold temperatures this week, an expert told NBC.

“The last thing an awful lot of people need right now is a higher electric bill — and that’s unfortunately something a lot of people will get stuck with,” said Matt Schulz, a chief industry analyst.

Royce Pierce, who lives in the Dallas suburb of Willow Park, said the electricity bill for his three-bedroom home soared to  $10,000 over the past few days.

“We are hoping there will be relief,” Royce said. “This is something maybe we can skate by and tackle as time goes on but how many people can’t? A lot.”

Veronica Garcia, a Reliant Energy customer in Mansfield, Texas, said the electricity bill for her one-bedroom apartment nearly doubled to $114 for her  one-bedroom apartment.

“Hopefully if they’re decent, they won’t charge people for this, because we had no control over the situation,” said Garcia, who is an administrative associate at UT Southwestern Medical Center. “Hopefully I can beat the charges and they do the right thing.”

A Reliant Energy spokeswoman told NBC that it’s offering flexible bill payment options to support customers impacted by the storm.

Griddy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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