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A neighborhood in Waco, Texas, amid power outages over the state on Feb. 17. Photo by Matthew Busch /AFP via Getty Images

Officials in Texas announced Saturday investigations into the causes of the state's widespread power outages and an energy bills spike following the state's winter storms.

Why it matters: Millions of Texans lost power and water during last week's storms. In the aftermath, wholesale power prices rose from roughly $50 per megawatt hour to $9,000, WFAA reports — noting some Texans faced bills of up to $17,000 so far this month.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's happening: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said in a statement after holding an emergency meeting with the state's Republican and Democratic legislative members it's "unacceptable for Texans who suffered through days in the freezing cold without electricity or heat to now be hit with skyrocketing energy costs."

  • The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the state's utility regulator, announced Saturday that it has opened an investigation "into the factors that combined with the devastating winter weather to disrupt the flow of power to millions of Texas homes."
"The Commission also unanimously approved a series of steps designed to protect retail electric customers feeling the financial effects of the ERCOT grid event."
— PUCT statement

Of note: Abbott has called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) "kind of opaque, the way it’s run.

What to watch: Abbott said in his statement that he's working with lawmakers and the state's lieutenant governor "to develop solutions to ensure that Texans are not on the hook for unreasonable spikes in their energy bills."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Feb 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Houston mayor: Blaming renewables for Texas blackouts "disingenuous"

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Photo: Thomas Shea/AFP vis Getty Images

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Saturday that blaming this week's mass power outages on renewable energy is "disingenuous."

Driving the news: Several Republicans, as well as conservative commentators have falsely blamed wind and solar energy for the blackouts, which left millions of people across Texas in the dark amid frigid temperatures and snow and ice storms.

Feb 20, 2021 - Science

Biden declares major disaster in Texas after winter storms

Long-haul trucks waiting in traffic caused by historic cold weather in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 15. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after severe winter storms struck the state, causing millions of residents to lose power and water.

Why it matters: The declaration clears the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts across the state.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Feb 19, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Living with climate catastrophe

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From stronger storms to Arctic warming to California fires, rising atmospheric carbon levels mean there's no escaping the fallout from global warming. Now, we're plunged into a new world of managing the consequences.

Why it matters: Some regions will require power grids more prepared for extreme heat and cold. But the needs go far beyond power systems to building codes, workplace regulations and design and placement of infrastructure.