Houston-Area Griddy Customer Seeks Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Unlawful Price Gouging – Houston Public Media
Crews are working to restore power to homes in Euless, Texas on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
A Chambers County woman who claims she billed more than $ 9,000 for electricity in last week’s winter storm is filing a $ 1 billion class action lawsuit against utility company Griddy, according to court documents.
Lisa Khoury of Mont Belvieu claimed in a petition filed with Harris County District Court that she tried to switch providers after finding she faced sky-high electricity prices but could not.
Over a six-day period from Feb.13 to Feb.19, Griddy billed her $ 9,340, according to the petition. It goes on to say that their normal monthly bill is between $ 200 and $ 250.
“The outrageous bills have added to Khoury’s stress and financial burden, especially as a retiree,” said the petition, which aims to protect class action lawsuits. “It describes itself as a ‘mode of survival’. Many Texans have complained that the crisis has depleted” the mental reserves left by the COVID-19 pandemic. “
The company didn’t respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
On the way into the storm, Griddy warned his 29,000 Texas customers of a price increase and, in an unusual move, urged their customers to switch electricity providers.
By the time many customers received the notification, most vendors had closed or were not accepting new customers over the President’s Day weekend.
As temperatures dipped below freezing in much of Texas and electricity demand neared record levels, the Public Utilities Commission directed state grid manager ERCOT to increase the wholesale price of electricity to meet the scarcity of supply. Usually the price per kilowatt hour is 12 cents or less. On the instructions of the PUC, ERCOT increased the wholesale price to USD 9 per kilowatt hour.
Griddy bases its customers on this wholesale price. Customers pay shipping costs and a flat monthly fee plus the wholesale price for electricity at the time of use.
“When there is excess energy on the grid, prices fall and can even go negative, which means you get paid to use electricity (great!),” Explains Griddy’s website. “And when the demand is high, like on hot summer days or storms in winter, prices can rise. The highest price that can be achieved is USD 9 / kWh (which was previously only 0.005% of the time. ) “
It’s also nice to see that my old electrical company is trending. My Griddy bill for this month is $ 1,750. I work in retail. I can not afford that. pic.twitter.com/Ew9VpgJ6h2
– WOW🐄NO🐄COW (@nathanpolk) February 20, 2021
Khoury isn’t the only customer expressing frustration.
On Twitter and Facebook, Griddy customers have shared screenshots of bills charged $ 1,000 or more, calling for the company to provide financial relief for those hit by last week’s high wholesale prices.
Griddy blames the Public Utilities Commission for the high prices, saying the PUC’s move to raise wholesale prices “changed the game”.
“We intend to fight this for and alongside our customers for justice and accountability,” the company wrote in a statement, “to show why such price increases were allowed when millions of Texans were without electricity.”
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