The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, has come under fire for his unsympathetic response to his fellow Texans who have been hit with soaring gas and electric bills following the state's paralyzing winter storms.
After freezing in their homes for days in the wake of winter storms and power outages that have so far left 30 Texans dead, people all over the state have been facing energy bills as high as five figures. One Dallas-area man received a $17,000 bill for heating a 900-square-foot apartment.
It's not the energy companies' fault for gouging their customers, but rather Texans themselves that are to blame for not having "read the fine print" in their energy bills.
Patrick's comments came during an appearance on Fox News' The Faulkner Focus, in which he laid the blame for the problem at the feet of Texas' citizens.
"We have in Texas, you can choose your energy plan and most people have a fixed rate. If they had a fixed rate per kilowatt hour, their rates aren't going up."
Patrick even went so far as to call Texas consumers who went for lower energy rates "gamblers."
"But the people who are getting those big bills are people who gambled on a very, very low rate... [G]oing forward, people need to read the fine print in those kinds of bills and we may even end that type of variable plan because people were surprised."
Thankfully, Patrick did clarify he has a plan to address people's exorbitant bills.
He told host Harris Faulkner he and the Texas state Senate were going to "figure out what the hell happened" and fix it "once and for all" to ensure this situation does not arise in the future should Texas face another surprise winter storm.
Patrick also said his response to this crisis would include investigations of ERCOT, the state's main electricity provider and he would resort to subpoenaing key figures if necessary.
But Patrick's response to the people of Texas left many enraged by what they saw as victim-blaming.
Why can’t this guy go to Mexico....forever? https://t.co/UY16myP2U3— Elizabeth Hernandez for Congress (@Elizabeth Hernandez for Congress)1614227918.0
From the state and party of "government is never the solution," I'm sure "we'll figure something out" brings great… https://t.co/UXYxMXKjHo— Zasdac (@Zasdac)1614277516.0
@RawStory Texans, you have met the enemy and the enemy says you deserve a $17K electric bill for not getting any el… https://t.co/L25mWWGPvi— Party of Fear (@Party of Fear)1614186469.0
@RawStory For them to be taking the 'gamble,' the total failure of the power grid needed to be a foreseeable risk,… https://t.co/XWKwIcTS1n— Catherine Patterson ⚖️😷🐝 (@Catherine Patterson ⚖️😷🐝)1614186594.0
@RawStory Well of course @DanPatrick would take this position as the oil&gas industry donates huge sums of $'s to h… https://t.co/1P6hNbNlMm— Jeffrey A. Williams (@Jeffrey A. Williams)1614186515.0
@BrettDGilman AG Dan Patrick: “But going forward, people need to read the fine print in those kinds of bills and we… https://t.co/Md7ElO0vDJ— Cristina 🐶😺🌞🍸🌶🥑 🇲🇽🇺🇸 (@Cristina 🐶😺🌞🍸🌶🥑 🇲🇽🇺🇸)1614195586.0
@VanityFair This is the guy who suggested grandparents take one for the team and die so that everything could remai… https://t.co/dPrAqqhJCU— AnnieB (@AnnieB)1614214424.0
@SusanVermazen @thespybrief What a beauty! “Read the fine print!” Dan Patrick sides with the energy companies that… https://t.co/0yfuTv7hsT— Myles Leach (@Myles Leach)1614226429.0
What a leader that Texan Dan Patrick is. https://t.co/ki1XvGJ56P— David Cay Johnston (@David Cay Johnston)1614211995.0
Despite Patrick's less than sympathetic response, he also told Faulkner no disconnect notices have been served to Texas citizens during this crisis.
Hopefully Texans will see some relief soon.