Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said on Sunday that dealing with skyrocketing resident electricity bills was the “top priority” of the state legislature, and he said there would be a moratorium on customer disconnections for non-payment. As power was cut amid deadly freezing temperatures, Texans who lacked a fixed electrical plan saw their bills soar due to market costs, with some bringing their bills in the tens of thousands.
Abbott and the Legislature held an emergency meeting on Saturday to find ways to “protect” residents from skyrocketing bills. “Texans who have suffered through freezing cold days without electricity should not be subject to skyrocketing energy bills due to a spike in the energy market,” Abbott said Sunday.
There are about 30,000 Texans out of power on Sunday afternoon. Abbott said he expected power to be restored statewide by Sunday night.
Besides the crisis of skyrocketing electricity bills, Texas also faces two other immediate crises: food shortages and lack of access to clean water. Abbott said on Sunday it was suspending trucking regulations to get drivers on the road to deliver food to grocery stores quickly. He also suspended regulations on kitchens for preparing food as long as it meets state health guidelines.
Abbott also said the state will distribute “ready-to-eat meals,” or MREs, and has requested a USDA disaster declaration to help distribute the food.
The Texas Department of Environment Quality said boil water advisories were lifted Sunday for about 5 million Texans, including in Houston and most of San Antonio, two of the largest cities. of State. Two days ago, 14.9 million Texans were on a boil water advisory.
Abbott is also bringing in plumbers as residents attempt to deal with broken pipes. He urged anyone with problems to call a plumber as soon as possible, as well as to call insurance companies.
In addition to the immediate triple crisis, Abbott said from now on, Texas will winterize all sources of energy.
“We should never run out of power again,” Abbott said. “Texas is the energy state, we need to make sure we translate that into power generation to make sure the power stays on.”
On Saturday, President Biden issued a, making 77 of Texas’ 254 counties eligible for federal funding to help with recovery efforts.
Temperatures plunged statewide last week, leading to increased energy use that led to the shutdown of the power grid. At least 30 deaths have been attributed to the storm in Texas, including a grandmother and three elementary school age children who died in a house fire in suburban Houston.
The warmer temperatures over the weekend melted the snow.