Texas Railroad Commission approves $3.4B settlement with utility companies from Winter storm, customers to see increase

Dallas Winter storm 2021
Dallas Winter storm 2021 Photo credit GettyImages

Texans could see higher natural gas bills soon.

The Texas Railroad Commission signed off on a $3.4 billion settlement with nine utility companies for costs incurred during February's winter storm after natural gas prices skyrocketed.

Lawmakers passed a bill in May allowing natural gas companies to recoup costs from the storm by charging fees to consumers to pay off the bonds; it's called "securitization."

It essentially works like this; the state guarantees low-interest bonds to these unility companies which are then paid back by consumers.

It's unclear exactly how much most consumers monthly bills will increase. There are reports the fee increases could be in place for up to the next 30 years.

Critics say state lawmakers are protecting gas company profits by forcing consumers to pay.

The legislature could have agreed to spend some amount of state money... to just help utility customers that are struggling with their utility bills,” said Virginia Palacios, executive director of Commission Shift, a group pushing for reform of the Railroad Commission. “They completely passed on that” as reported by KUT.

Featured Image Photo Credit: GettyImages