CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Following last week's weather event, high demand for energy exceeded the supply the state has to offer.
Because of that situation, people are wondering what their next electric bill will look like.
“When we did get the power back on they sent out an email saying, hey don’t overwork your heaters it needs to be set at 69,” Corpus Christi resident Summir Hill said.
Millions of Texans were left in the dark due to the deadly frigid temperatures. Because of those outages, Hill says her electric bill should be discounted.
“As a college student I already struggle to pay my bills," she said. "And when something becomes out of my control and I still have to rely on some source of income that I have to be able to pay that, it won't end up in my favor, it’s not going to end up in my favor. It’s going to end up in the electric company's favor or the apartment's favor.”
One local electric utility company distributing power, Nueces Electric Cooperative, offers their customers protection.
“If a member receives a bill that’s much higher than was expected on their KWH consumption in dollar amount give us a call,” said Frank Wilson, NEC's chief retail officer.
Other resources can be found on the NEC Co-op Energy's website. There is a list of social assistance agencies throughout the state who will hopefully have the funds to help those members in need and also helping those with another provider.
Wilson says while NEC Co-op Energy is not expecting nearly the price spike that some people did see across the state, they can defer payment plans and overcharges over the next couple of months.
“Now if someone is in a variable rate with one of our competitors, I can’t speak for what they’re doing and how they’re acquiring their power,” said Wilson.
As of Feb. 20, President Biden did issue a major disaster declaration with 77 counties of the 254 in Texas are now eligible for federal funding to help with recovery efforts. It is unclear if this declaration will cover high electricity bills.
Nueces County, Corpus Christi and San Patricio County are included in this declaration.
The industry norm is to set the thermostat at about 66 degrees, Wilson said. He suggests that if no one is home, either turn the heat off or set it at a low temperature to conserve temperature.