Class Action Claim Filed Against Griddy for Excessive Electricity Bills During Texas Disaster
HOUSTON – A Chambers County woman has filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Griddy, alleging that the Texas power supplier engaged in unlawful price gouging during last week’s statewide winter storm and power outages.
Lisa Khoury, a Mont Belvieu resident, claims her electricity bill from February 13 to February 19 totaled $9,340, as Griddy began making withdrawals from her bank account daily. Ms. Khoury says her normal monthly bill averages between $200 and $250. She repeatedly tried to reach the company with concerns about the withdrawals but got no response. Eventually placing a stop-payment order on her bank account.
According to the filing in state district court in Harris County, Ms. Khoury and her husband mostly were without power in their home from February 17 to February 18. Ms. Khoury hosted her parents and in-laws, who are in their 80s, during the storm. Even then, she continued to minimize her household’s power usage because of her fear of high electricity prices.
Ms. Khoury says she began attempting to switch providers as early as February 15. But she was only able to change providers on February 19 after persistent contact with other electricity providers.
The proposed class includes all Texas residents who used electricity services from Griddy and were hit with excessive charges resulting from the storm.
“At this point we don’t know how many people might be affected, but there are likely thousands of customers who’ve received these outrageous bills,” says Derek Potts of the Potts Law Firm in Houston, who represents Ms. Khoury. “A class action will be the most efficient and effective way for Griddy’s customers to come together and fight this predatory pricing.”
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act among other claims. It seeks an injunction to prevent Griddy from billing and collecting payment for excessive prices and demands the forgiving of any late or unpaid bills from customers. Ms. Khoury and all other members of the class are seeking monetary relief of more than $1 billion.
Griddy’s business model offers customers a wholesale rate plan. It is designed to save money during fair-weather months when residents are unlikely to be turning on heating or cooling systems. The wholesale rate before the winter storm was around $50 per megawatt/hour. Though the state’s Public Utility Commission raised that cap during the winter storm. The resulting rates soared to more than $9,000 per megawatt/hour.
The lawsuit is Lisa Khoury v. Griddy Energy LLC, No. 2021-10004 filed in the 133rd District Court of Harris County, Texas.