• Some Texans were hit with $5,000 utility bills after winter storms caused prices to surge.
  • On Sunday, regulators said electric providers are banned from shutting off service for unpaid bills.
  • A news release said the orders are “intended to be temporary, likely through the end of this week.”
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The Public Utility Commission of Texas said Sunday that electricity companies would be temporarily banned from cutting off service due to unpaid bills.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the move earlier in the day, following an emergency meeting that was held on Saturday to address the surging electricity bills some Texans were receiving after the devastating winter storm.

In a news release about the moratorium, the PUCT said that they issued a series of orders timed to prevent Texans with unpaid bills from losing power on Monday. The orders are “intended to protect Texas electricity customers while leaders in the state consider solutions for the financial aftershocks of the winter storm grid event.”

The orders also included a continuation of a COVID-19 policy that requires electric providers to offer deferred payment plans by customer request.

“Our absolute top priority as a commission and a state is protecting electricity customers from the devastating effects of a storm that already affected their delivery of power,” DeAnn Walker, the commission chairman, said in the statement.

She also said the orders are “intended to be temporary, likely through the end of this week.”

The PUCT also “strongly urged” electric providers to delay billing residential and small commercial customers at this time.

The moratorium came after Texans said they received electricity bills for more than $5,000 for less than a week of service.

During the unusually cold winter storms last week, demand for electricity surged, hiking the wholesale price 10,000% as some power plants failed. Some residents were being charged $1,000 per day for electricity, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The winter storms ultimately caused millions of Texans to go days without any power during the extreme cold.