The state of Texas should compensate residents for the astronomical electricity bills some were forced to pay in last week's freezing weather, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS News on Sunday.
"The bill should go to the state of Texas," the mayor said, saying the disaster caused by the freezing weather was a foreseeable event that the state legislature ignored.
Some residents have reported bills of more than $16,000 for a few days of usage, but Turner stressed that the individual consumers did not cause this catastrophe.
Turner said that when he was in the state legislature, he had filed a bill to ensure there was "adequate reserve" to prevent blackouts, but it was not considered by the state's leaders.
Texas has a deregulated energy market in which consumers chose between a number of suppliers, according to BBC News. Most are on fixed-rate payment plans, but many on variable-rate tariffs had soaring costs when the temperatures plummeted.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott agreed that "we have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages," adding that action should be taken so that consumers "do not get stuck with skyrocketing energy bills."
President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Saturday, which will allow more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts.
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