By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(AUSTIN, Texas) — More than $29 million in unpaid electric bills are set to be forgiven as part of Griddy Energy’s bankruptcy plan, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced.
Griddy, the wholesale electricity provider that came under fire after many of its customers reported being hit with exorbitant bills during last month’s severe weather, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week.
“My office sued Griddy Energy, under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, to hold them accountable for their escalation of last month’s winter storm disaster by debiting enormous amounts from customer accounts as Texans struggled to survive the storm,” Paxton said in a statement earlier this week.
“I ensured that Griddy’s proposed bankruptcy plan takes an important step forward by offering releases to approximately 24,000 former customers who owe $29.1 million in unpaid electric bills,” Paxton added.
The attorney general said his office is also engaged in “good faith negotiations” with Griddy to address additional relief for customers who have already paid their storm-related energy bills.
A Griddy spokesperson declined ABC News’ request for comment on Paxton’s claims Thursday and referenced a statement the company released when it announced bankruptcy proceedings.
In the statement, Griddy blamed the operators of the state’s power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, for hurting its business and causing financial harm to customers.
Griddy also said that it did not profit from the winter storm crisis and provided real-time wholesale electricity prices to customers. The company added that it neither influences nor controls the price of electricity and the prices are passed directly to customers without markup. Finally, the company said that it earns the same $9.99 monthly fee regardless of the fluctuations in the price of electricity.
“No retail energy provider or consumer should have to forecast and protect against such extreme and unforeseeable circumstances,” said Griddy Co-Founder Gregory Craig.
In a separate statement on Tuesday responding to the initial lawsuit against the company brought on by Paxton, Griddy told ABC News, “We are aware of the lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General against Griddy. We do not agree with the claims alleged in the complaint, and plan to vigorously defend against it. Until then the company has no further comment.”
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