Business owner in The Woodlands hit with $18,000 power bill after winter storm

Friday, April 30, 2021
Woodlands business gets $18K electric bill after winter storm
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WATCH: The Better Business Bureau is offering tips for what you can do if you get hit with an unexpectedly high bill.

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (KTRK) -- Vic Cherubini has been in business at his Woodlands Photo Studios for more than 30 years. He got quite the shock when his latest electric bill from Entrust Energy was $17,903.

"It's frustrating and something to lose sleep about as well," Cherubini said.

He says he incurred the cost from February's winter storm.

"To get a bill like this and not be responsible for it is really frustrating," he added.

Cherubini learned, though, he wasn't alone. ABC13 has reported on high bills because of the storm, leaving many to wonder how they're going to pay for it. We took their concerns and questions to the Better Business Bureau.

"First, dispute the charge with your credit card company. If its auto-pay and being deducted from your bank account, we suggest you turn off auto-pay until those charges are disputed," said VP of Operations at BBB Houston, Leah Napoliello.

The BBB also recommends reaching out to your electric company. If that doesn't get you anywhere, they say then reach out to the BBB to file a complaint, or the Texas Public Utility Commission.

RELATED: Texas woman files suit against Griddy over $9K electricity bill during winter freeze

The BBB gives Entrust Energy an "F" rating due to complaint patterns, saying promises the company has made to customers sometimes aren't reflected in their bills.

ABC13 reached out to Entrust, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. President and CEO Alexis Keene emailed us saying:

"As you may be aware, it is our policy to not discuss active litigation matters, during the pendency of the case. Entrust Energy and affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 30, 2021. What I can share is that Entrust is evaluating all options within the context of the bankruptcy process to be able to compromise all index customer bills issued as final invoices sent to our customers on an Indexed product for the period covering the artic freeze that experienced ERCOT's inflated energy prices. Further, we are alerting these same customers of our intent to seek a compromise for this final invoice, as soon as practicable considering that anything we might be able to credit or compromise would be subject now to the Bankruptcy Court's approval. We appreciate the patience of our valuable former customers of Entrust Energy as we work within the constraints of the Bankruptcy Court process to seek such a compromise on behalf of these affected customers."

As for Cherubini, he says he won't be paying his nearly $18,000 bill.

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