Residents in Texas receive power bills up to $17,000 after historic winter storm

The mayor of Houston has asked Texas state to pay the huge electricity bills of thousands of residents due to the freezing weather.

Sylvester Turner told CBS News it was not the fault of residents that the system could not cope.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called for action to ensure Texans “do not get stuck with skyrocketing energy bills”.

“We have a responsibility to protect Texans from spikes in their energy bills that are a result of the severe winter weather and power outages,” he said after meeting lawmakers.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Saturday, clearing the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts.

Residents reported bill up to $16,752 for just a few days of usage, as temperatures hit 30-year lows of -18C(negative).

At least 70 people died as the freeze swept several southern US states.

The deadly storm, which blanketed Texas in snow last week, knocked out power to millions of people across the region.

But some residents who were still able to turn on their lights and keep their fridges running found themselves with bills reaching thousands of dollars.

Texas is one of the few US states to have an independent energy grid, when the cold snap hit and power was in short supply, they were unable to receive support from neighbouring states.

As a result, the Public Utility Commission of Texas decided at an emergency meeting to raise the price of energy.

This change has not affected people on fixed-rate payment plans for their power. However, people on variable-rate tariffs – which can work out cheaper in the short-term, when weather conditions are consistent, have been hit hard by the increase and are now facing soaring costs.