According to The Dallas Morning News, a retail power company in Texas has made an unusual plea to customers as the state continues suffering a deep freeze and electricity prices are soaring: Leave now before you get a big bill.
Power supplier, Griddy, told all 29,000 of its customers that they should switch to another provider as spot electricity prices soared to as high as $9,000 a megawatt-hour. Griddy’s customers are fully exposed to the real-time swings in wholesale power markets, so those who don’t leave soon will face extraordinarily high electricity bills.
“We made the unprecedented decision to tell our customers — whom we worked really hard to get — that they are better off in the near term with another provider,” said Michael Fallquist, chief executive officer of Griddy. “We want what’s right by our consumers, so we are encouraging them to leave. We believe that transparency and that honesty will bring them back” once prices return to normal.
The Dallas Morning News reported that “Texas is home to the most competitive electricity market in America.”
Homeowners and businesses churn power providers there like credit cards. In the face of such cutthroat competition, retail power providers in the region have grown accustomed to offering new customers incredibly low rates, incentives and, at least in Griddy’s case, unusual plans that allow customers to pay wholesale power prices as opposed to fixed ones.
Some providers are simply urging customers to cut back their usage, according to the report, in some cases offering incentives — like a chance to win a Tesla Model 3, or free electricity for up to a year — if they reduce power usage by a certain amount in coming days.
But Griddy is in a different boat than most, per the report.
Its service is simple — and controversial. Members pay a $9.99 monthly fee and then pay the cost of spot power traded on Texas’s power grid based on the time of day they use it. Earlier this month, that meant customers were saving money — and at times even getting paid — to use electricity at night. But in recent days, the cost of their power has soared from about 5 to 6 cents a kilowatt-hour to $1 or more. That’s when Fallquist knew it was time to urge his customers to leave.
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