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Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick tells Texans with big electric bills a fair payment plan is coming

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -

Lights are back on, but the big question now is how will Texans pay outrageous electric bills sent to them in the aftermath of the storm?

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said if you’ve been handed an electric bill with enough zeros to make your eyes pop, there’s no need to panic.

Patrick said the governor is stopping all utility companies from shutting off power because a customer can’t afford a large bill.

Now the state has to come up with a plan so everyone will pay a fair rate.

“My goal is to make sure we address that if not 100%, then near 100%,” Patrick said. “That’s a ways down the line. I’m just saying don’t worry about it today. We’re not going to unplug anybody’s power.”

Texans affected worst aren’t on fixed rate energy plans.

Customers on those plans pay based on the kilowatts’ value, which soared as the state’s power grid failed.

“Maybe someone on a regular plan was paying 9 or 14 cents a kilowatt per hour and someone else was paying 4 or 5 not knowing it could go up into the dollars or to the hundreds or the thousands,” Patrick explained.

Patrick said he also wants the state to look closer at these business practices and possibly pass regulations so Texans won’t be taken by surprise with a $10,000 electric bill the way many were this past week.

State Representative Brooks Landgraf said he’s working on fighting unreasonable bills too.

He wrote a letter to the public utility commission demanding it to take back an order that would have raised utility prices.

“I don’t believe that Texans who are left in the cold should be forced to bear the burden and pay the costs of the mistakes that were made by others,” Landgraf said.

In the meantime, Landgraf advises West Texans to call their energy providers if they have questions on their specific policies under the new order.

Both Patrick and Landgraf say coming up with a payment plan for electric bills is the Texas Legislature’s top priority.

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