By Stephanie Kelly, Peter Szekely and Jennifer Hiller

HOUSTON (Reuters) – In Spring, Texas, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Houston, Akilah Scott-Amos is staring down a more than $11,000 electric bill for this month, a far cry from her $34 bill at this time last year.

“What am I going to do?” Scott-Amos, 43, said. She was among the millions of Texas residents who lost power during several days of bitter cold that caused the state’s electrical grid, operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, to break down. “I guess the option is, what, I’ll pay it? I just don’t feel like we should have to.”

Scott-Amos’s electric provider was Griddy, a Houston-based company that provides wholesale electricity at variable rates for a monthly $9.99 fee. She and many others who signed up for variable-rate plans are facing skyrocketing utility bills as natural gas spot prices rose by several thousand percent in a matter of days during the unexpected cold.

More than a dozen states currently allow customers to sign up with variably-priced suppliers other than their power distribution companies. As climate change causes more unpredictable weather events, those who participate in such plans face the possibility …read more



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