TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Some East Texans have continued to see an extra charge on their electric bill after the February 2021 winter storm.
The charge is called Power Cost Recovery Factors (PCRF) and was implemented in July of 2021 after the demand for energy increased.
“The cost of natural gas during that one week in February was just unreal, it was through the roof,” said Tony McCullough with the Upshur County Rural Electric Co-op.
Instead of charging a large one-time fee, utilities have decided to split the costs up over several years. East Texans may see their bill increase as little as $20 a month, but that small price will be paying off a much bigger bill. The state of Texas usually runs around $2.5 million worth of electricity each month, during the February storm, that number skyrocketed to more than $30 million.
“The co-ops and a lot of the utility companies, like us, we went and financed that huge, huge massive electric bill that week, that was over $32 million,” McCullough explained.
In response, one family in Troup installed solar panels to cut down on their monthly spending. Instead, the Gipson family will pay off the loan for the panels and then will never have to pay another energy bill again.
Melodee Gipson said that with current inflation, her family couldn’t afford to have unmanageable bills every month.
“It’s hard because you have to be like, ‘Do I pay for groceries this month, and now groceries are up. And gas is up.’ It was just tough,” Gipson said.
The PCRF charge applies to every Texan, just in different ways. If East Texans don’t see the PCRF charge on their bill, that is because their utility company may have labeled it as something different. Another explanation behind the charge is the rising price of fuel. According to officials, the demand for electric generation continues to increase. But, due to low supplies it was inevitable that these prices would rise.