(TEXAS) — Following a historic weather event that shut off power for most of Texas and forced millions to boil their water, if able to, some residents found no relief after their power return.
Now, a new crisis looms in the Lone Star state — electric bills.
One man claims that he received a bill stating he owed $17,000 for the electricity he used to keep his house warm as temperatures plummeted into the single digits.
ABC News explains that most Texans rely on variable rates for their power, however, “if you think about it like trying to score an Uber on New Year’s Eve, everybody is trying to use their power … so the variable rate of power for some people went up 50 times higher than it had ever been before.”
One Texas resident told ABC News that she anticipated the rate hike and shut all the power off in her home and unplugged all her appliances — even stuffing her refrigerator with snow so the food inside wouldn’t spoil. The only utility she kept on was the thermostat so her house wouldn’t freeze — and even then, she received a bill for $621 for the four days she only relied on her heat.
Texas officials are working hard to address the issue, but for some residents, the utilities have already taken payment.
While bills are one crisis, another is the ongoing water shortage striking the state.
With parts of Texas still under a boil water order due to the cold weather taking its water treatment facilities offline, residents are scrambling to find bottled water to drink, bathe and flush their toilet.
Texas is still determining the scope of the recent weather event and how harshly it impacted its citizens.
In addition, officials are also looking into how many deaths the extreme weather event caused. The state is trying to determine how many residents died of hypothermia.
Carbon monoxide poisoning cases also rose in the state, as people turned to their vehicles to keep warm. That number, too, is being counted.
The list, say officials, is growing every day.