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Still no refund of $9,000 electric bill from February 2021 deep freeze

Still no refund of $9,000 electric bill from February 2021 deep freeze
Posted at 8:09 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 10:59:35-05

When Texas descended into a deep freeze in February of last year, ERCOT — the agency that runs the state's power grid — ordered rolling blackouts.

As millions of people struggled to heat their homes in temperatures well below freezing, the grid was on the verge of collapse, and the blackouts prevented that from happening.

But the lights — and the heat — stayed on at Randy Thach's home in Rockport — which turned out to be very costly for him.

“They were charging $250 to my credit card every hour which was pretty traumatic," he said.

Griddy, Thach's electric company at the time, based the rate they charged him for power on the wholesale price of electricity which ERCOT maxed out during the deep freeze to encourage power generating companies to generate power.

A few days later, after the Coastal Bend was able to thaw out, Thach had paid $9,000 for electricity.

Thousands of other Griddy customers faced massive bills as well, and Thach actually considers himself one of the lucky ones.

“We had savings that we could pay it," he said. "But I’m sure there are people in this state that weren’t able to pay."

Since then, Thach has not received a cent of refunded money.

Griddy filed for bankruptcy in March and then settled with the state in August, releasing its customers from their obligations to pay inflated electric bills.

But customers like Thach, who use automatic bill pay through credit cards, had already ponied up the money.

To get his money back, he's working with a bankruptcy court, but he says he hasn't heard from them in two to three months or more.

That's why he thinks ever getting a refund is a long shot.

“I’m hopeful, but I think the chances are slim to none probably," he said.

Thach switched to a fixed rate power provider immediately after the deep freeze, but considering how much money he lost, he gets uncomfortable when the temperature drops.

“I think I’ll always have flashbacks whenever it gets down to the low 20s worrying if it’s going to happen again," he said.