As Deep Freeze Subsides, Texas Households Face Electricity Bills as High as $10,000

As the Texas power grid collapsed under a severe winter storm, homeowners face sky-high electric bills.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages power for about 90% of the state’s electric load, was unprepared for the past two weeks’ frigid conditions. The primary electric grid got hit with off-the-charts demand for power as Texans tried to heat their homes—a demand that outpaced utility officials’ highest estimates for an extreme peak load.

“I’m taking responsibility for the current status of ERCOT,” Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters on Thursday.

Customers outside the ERCOT service area have also been hit with sticker shock. Reliant Energy spokesperson Megan Talley told NBC News that they’re offering flexible bill payment options to support customers impacted by the storm. It said customers should contact the company directly “so we can work with them through this difficult time.”

Customers may be able to work with their credit card issuers on a plan to cover the bill over time, said Matt Schulz, a chief industry analyst with LendingTree. He said credit card companies have become more flexible with borrowers throughout the pandemic.

“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,” Schulz said.