Yes, it’s an ongoing plan with federal assistance to help homeowners fix both, because we have a lot of water leaks, a lot of damage, burst pipes, but we also have electricity bills, Texas Congressman Michael McCaul told CNN’s Dana Bash during the State of the Union when asked if some of the disaster money would be used to help residents pay their bills.
State residents are reporting unusually high energy bills after the freeze, which state officials said they are investigating, and Gov. Greg Abbott is calling an emergency meeting to review the situation.
It is unacceptable that Texans who have suffered days without electricity or heat in freezing temperatures now face skyrocketing energy prices, Republican Abbott said Saturday in a statement.
Last week, President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Texas, freeing up more federal funds to help the state recover from deadly winter storms. The statement states that assistance may include grants for temporary housing and housing repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property damage, and other programs to help individuals and business owners overcome the effects of the disaster.
Biden’s statement offers help to the people of 77 Texas counties, although Abbott has called for a disaster declaration for all 254 counties. The White House said it was working closely with Abbott and that other counties could be included after further damage assessments.
While this partial approval is an important first step, Texas will continue to work with its federal partners to ensure that all eligible Texans have access to the help they need, the governor said in a statement.
Among those affected by high energy bills is DeAndre Upshaw, a Dallas resident, who said he received a very shocking $7,000 bill from his utility company.
While I’m trying to fill up on gas and run errands and make sure my pipes don’t burst, the last thing I can think about is a $7,000 bill from my utility company, Upshaw told Fredricka Whitfield on CNN on Saturday.
Meanwhile, local state officials are asking Texas to pay the high bills and the Democratic mayor of Houston and the Republican mayor of Fort Worth are urging the state to provide relief to affected residents.
Non-consumers would have to pay for these exorbitant costs…. Bill is expected to travel to the state of Texas, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS on Sunday.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price concurred with Turner’s sentiments: We expect the government to raise wages. They noted that the biggest problem facing their towns after the restoration of electricity is the water supply, due to broken pipes, limited resources for repairs and a continued lack of access to water.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has stated unequivocally that it would be hell if the people of the state had to pay for rising electricity costs.
It would be unacceptable to withdraw the bills and blame the people of the state, who are suffering and freezing their homes through no fault of their own, Nirenberg told CNN on Sunday. This is a total failure of energy management by governments and they must be held accountable.
The mayor added: If you have any idea what the people of this state will have to pay for this disaster, hell will be paid.
On Sunday, McCaul also criticized the senator. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who has been met with fierce reactions because he went to Cancun, Mexico, when the state was frozen, that Cruz later regretted his decision.
I know Mr. Cruz said it was a mistake, but I think it was a big mistake, Mr. McCaul told Bash. As for me, I was on the ground to help my people and my constituents, and that’s what we need to do in times of crisis, as we did during the hurricane season.
This story was updated on Sunday with additional details.
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