Energy companies raked in $50 billion last week after millions lost power during the freezing storms in Texas, report says

Energy companies raked in $50 billion last week after millions lost power during the freezing storms in Texas, report says
Roads were covered with snow and sleet on February 15, 2021, in Spring, Texas.David J. Phillip/AP
  • Winter storms in Texas last week caused widespread power outages and skyrocketing electric bills.
  • Energy firms raked in nearly $50 billion in sales during the storms, The Washington Post reported.
  • But it's unclear who will ultimately foot the bill, as officials say they are working on a solution.

Energy companies sold nearly $50 billion in electricity in Texas last week as winter storms caused widespread power outages that left millions without power or heat, according to a Washington Post report.

That sales figure, which was calculated by an energy consulting firm, is equal to the last three years combined, the Post reported.

The freezing weather in Texas last week caused an energy crisis in the state, with demand for power soaring as power plants froze and failed. Millions lost power and access to potable water for days, and some Texans received massive energy bills as high as $16,000.
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As a result, the Public Utility Commission of Texas temporarily barred electricity companies from cutting off service as a result of unpaid bills.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said that Texans who had opted for a fixed energy rate did not receive high bills, "but the people who are getting those big bills are people who gambled on a very, very low rate."

However, Patrick suggested the people who received those bills will not have to pay the full amount, saying, "We are going to figure that out."
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An energy analyst also told the Post that it's not yet clear who will foot the bills that contributed to that $50 billion figure.

"Texas has paid the price," Robert McCullough told the Post. "Well, some people in Texas are paying a very high price. And some are making out very well." One energy company executive received swift criticism last week after appearing to celebrate the surge in natural gas prices during an earnings call with investors.
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"Obviously, this week is like hitting the jackpot," said Roland Burns, the Chief Financial Officer of Comstock Resources, a natural gas producer that operates in Texas and Louisiana, NPR reported. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is a major shareholder in the company.

Burns later apologized, calling the description "inappropriate and insensitive."

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