Texan Files $1 Billion Lawsuit Against Their Electricity Supplier After Bill Tops $9,000
An infuriated Texas resident has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against her electricity supplier after she was billed more than $9,000 following the state’s cold snap.
Lisa Khoury of Mont Belvieu was one of millions of Texans impacted by last week’s freezing temperatures, which caused the state’s electricity grid to become overwhelmed.
As locals desperately tried to stay warm amid the storm, some electricity suppliers increased prices in relation to the high demand.
In the lawsuit, filed against electricity retailer Griddy Energy LLC on Monday, February 22, Khoury alleged that her monthly electricity bills from Griddy were around $200 to $250.
However, during the week of the storm, the company is said to have automatically withdrawn $1,200 from Khoury, with her bill for February 1–19 totalling $9,546.
Khoury claimed she had contacted Griddy to express concern over the expensive withdrawals and cheques that had bounced, but she says she never heard back from the company. On February 18, she placed a stop payment order with her bank.
The lawsuit notes that Griddy’s wholesale rate increased from $50 per megawatt-hour before the storm to $9,000 per megawatt-hour, and that the company told customers it was ‘seeking relief from utility regulators’ after advising 29,000 customers to switch to another provider with a fixed rate.
The filing, cited by Fox News, states:
Griddy charged Khoury in the middle of a disaster. She and her husband mostly were without power in their home from Wednesday, February 17, 2021 to Thursday, February 18, 2021. At the same time, Khoury hosted her parents and in-laws, who are in their 80s, during the storm.
Even then, she continued to minimize any power usage because of the high prices.
As well as criticising the bill, the lawsuit accuses Griddy of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeks an injunction to prevent Griddy from billing and collecting payment for excessive prices.
It also demands that the company assures it will forgive any late or unpaid bills from affected customers, stating, ‘Griddy knew it was overcharging consumers, that consumers would be harmed, and Griddy would be unjustly enriched by retaining customers’ payments.’
The lawsuit seeks $1 billion in monetary relief and states that it is filed ‘on behalf of all others similarly situated’.
Khoury’s lawyer, Derek Potts, expressed his belief that his client is likely one of thousands of customers who received expensive bills and that the class action would ‘be the most efficient and effective way for Griddy’s customers to come together and fight this predatory pricing’.
Speaking to Fox, Potts said:
What happened financially to all of the customers of Griddy both in terms of the exorbitant prices charged and the manner in that they were collected from peoples’ bank accounts and credit cards literally in the middle of a catastrophe while many were without power, heat, and water, is clearly contrary to Texas laws in place to protect consumers.
A spokesperson from Griddy responded to the lawsuit to say it was ‘meritless’, and that the blame for the high prices instead lay with Public Utility Commission of Texas, Reuters reports. An order from the utility commission reportedly said that ‘energy prices should reflect [the] scarcity of the supply’.
Griddy also shared a blog post on its website in which it said it, too, was ‘p*ssed’ at the prices and that it would fight them.
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