During an interview with Fox News, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Patrick suggested that Texans who were hit with astronomical electricity bills, even if they lost power during the deep freeze that crippled the states a week ago, are to blame for having their life savings depleted for “not reading the fine print” on their electric contracts.
Millions of Texans went days without heat or electricity last week. The few that somehow didn’t lose power no doubt counted themselves extremely lucky. That is, until they looked at their energy bills and saw eye-popping, five-figure numbers nearly a hundred times bigger than what they typically owed.
“My savings is gone,” Scott Willoughby, a 63-year-old Army veteran who found himself on the receiving end of a $16,752 bill, told The New York Times. “It’s been 43 degrees in the house since Monday, and I still have a $5,000 bill,” Karen Cosby told the Dallas News. “How in the world can anyone pay that,” Ty Williams wondered aloud to WFAA ABC, after noting that his electric bill was more than $17,000 for the month.
But if you ask Dan Patrick, his constituents should spend less time writing angry letters to elected officials and more time taking a long hard look in the mirror.
Patrick told Fox host Harris Faulkner, “I saw the story about the high bills. Let me explain that. We have in Texas, you can choose your energy plan and most people have a fixed rate. If they had a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour, their rates aren’t going up…. But the people who are getting those big bills are people who gambled on a very, very low rate…going forward, people need to read the fine print in those kinds of bills.”
Patrick added that the “folks” who received $2,000 and $3,000 and $17,000 bills should “not panic” and that the government is “going to figure that out,” but he also said that he’s going to get to the bottom of why Texas‘s power grid failed in such a spectacular fashion when, again, the state was warned a decade ago that it needed to winterize its power plants. So it doesn’t really seem like Patrick can be of help.
Watch the interview below: