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Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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Texas utilities can’t stick customers with huge bills after storm -Abbott

Texas utility regulators will temporarily ban power companies from billing customers or disconnecting them for non-payment, after the deadly winter storm that caused widespread blackouts, Governor Greg Abbott said on Sunday (February 21). 

Abbott estimated power would be restored across the state by Sunday night or Monday. 

“As of about an hour ago, there still remained about 30,000 Texans who did not have access to power,” he said. “Based upon the speed that I’ve seen power get restored, I suspect that all power will be fully restored across the state of Texas to every house either later tonight or tomorrow.” 

The governor called an emergency meeting with state lawmakers on Saturday after reports of many customers receiving bills for thousands of dollars for just a few days’ electricity service while Texas was gripped by frigid temperatures.

He said the Public Utility Commission of Texas will order electricity companies to pause sending bills to customers, and will issue a temporary moratorium on disconnection for non-payment.

The state will use the time to find a way to protect utility customers, Abbott said.

“The issue about utility bills and the skyrocketing prices that so many homeowners and renters are facing is the top priority for the Texas legislature right now,” he said.

Texas has a highly unusual deregulated energy market that lets consumers choose between scores of competing electricity providers. 

(Production: Arlene Eiras)

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