fr24news– ERCOT Board Chairman Sally Talberg, Board Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Terry Bulger and Human Resources and Water Committee Chairman during the extremely low temperatures from last week.
While most Texas now have electricity, some of their electricity providers will no longer be available. And more than 7 million people have water outages, including warnings to boil water before using it or have no running water at all.
In their letter, the outgoing council members wrote that they were stepping down to “give state leaders a free hand in the future direction and to eliminate distractions.”
Talberg lives in Michigan, Cramton lives in California and Hepper lives in Maine, according to public records. Bulger resides in Wheaton, Ill., According to the ERCOT website.Board candidate Craig Ivey also withdrew his name from running for a board seat on Tuesday, citing concerns about out-of-state directors.
ERCOT’s articles of association provide for 16 members of the board of directors, five of whom must not be affiliated with any market segment.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he welcomed the resignations.
“When the Texans were in desperate need of power, ERCOT didn’t do its job and the Texans were left shivering in their homes with no power,” Abbott said in a statement. “ERCOT executives assured Texas’s electrical infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances turned out to be woefully false. ”
In a statement, ERCOT said it looks forward to “working with the Texas Legislature, and we thank the outgoing Council members for their service.”
Very high electricity bills
The freezing weather has skyrocketed energy consumption and forced several retail electricity providers to exit the market, said Andrew Barlow, spokesperson for the Utilities Commission.
It is not known how many customers will have to switch to new power companies. But across Texas, soaring energy costs have led to astronomical utility bills.
Susan Hosford of Denison normally pays her supplier, Griddy, $ 2.50 on a typical February day, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
After the first two weeks of February, she was automatically billed $ 1,346.17 – which was more than what she had in her checking account.
“It has all been a nightmare,” she told KPRC.
Hosford told the station it chose to pay wholesale for electricity, an option in which prices fluctuate based on demand. But those prices skyrocketed when temperatures hit record lows and energy sources were damaged.
DeAndrew Upshaw said he was billed $ 6,700 for electricity in his 900 square foot townhouse, and that some of his friends were unable to pay their rent due to the automatic payment of the utility bill.
Texas utilities regulator, the Texas Utilities Commission, said on Saturday it was investigating “the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of electricity to millions of homes in Texas “.
Federal, state and local assistance
On Monday, Abbott said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved adding 31 more Texas counties to the president’s major disaster statement for individual assistance.
Abbott has requested individual assistance for all 254 counties, but the White House approved 77 for a major disaster declaration on Saturday, with public assistance for all counties.
He said the state’s Utilities Commission has issued a moratorium on disconnections for non-payment.
“Texans who have suffered through freezing cold days without electricity shouldn’t be subject to skyrocketing energy bills due to a spike in the energy market,” Abbott said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Monday announced a relief fund for residents of Houston and Harris County to help cover costs that the federal and state governments will not cover.
The fund will support individuals as well as nonprofit organizations that help with home repairs and temporary housing, he said.
“We don’t want you to feel like you’re on your own,” Turner said.
“Recognizing that many families find themselves in situations where they don’t have insurance, they don’t have the financial means to make the repairs… their ceilings have fallen and furniture and other things have been damaged, and they are really stressed about how we’re going … we’re working to put together a fund, a relief fund to help people. ”
27% of Texans have water problems
As relief efforts intensify, many residents of the state are still struggling to supply their homes with water.
About 7.9 million people on Tuesday still have water disturbances, such as boil water advisories, said Gary Rasp, spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
This represents about 27% of the population of Texas.
Statewide, more than 1,200 public water systems have faced disruption, Rasp said. Systems serving just under 120,000 people were still not providing service.
A week after the storm, some water systems are starting to recover. About 326 boil water advisories had been dropped as of Monday evening, Rasp said. Galveston and Houston lifted the boil water advisories on Sunday.
Houston officials have advised customers to run cold water faucets for at least a minute; empty several batches of ice from automatic ice machines; and passing the water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
In Austin, a boil water advisory has been lifted for all customers, the city’s Austin Water utility said on Tuesday.
Austin Water spokesman Randi Jenkins told CNN water use jumped 250% due to water loss from falling faucets and broken pipes due to freezing .
Document damage, say executives
For residents facing long-term damage, the state plans to bring in plumbers to help fix broken pipes, Abbott said. He urged residents to contact their insurance agents.
People without insurance can claim reimbursement from FEMA, he said. They will need to be able to document any loss they experience.
Residents should also contact their local emergency response coordinator to receive reimbursement, he said.
Turner, the mayor of Houston, also urged residents to document damage to their homes in case they could be reimbursed.