Release - "Houston Bar Association, Related Organizations Offer Legal Help for Winter Storm Issues"
General Disaster Recovery Information & Assistance
Further Help from the HBA & Affiliates
Consumer Law Tips from Houston Lawyer Referral Service
- Consumers should not pay excessive water bills (due to broken pipes, etc.), per PUC [Public Utility Commission of Texas]. However, consumers should be sure to pay - on time - the amount of the lesser of one’s previous month’s water bill or the 12 month average water bill.
- ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] is still in the process of deliberating on how it will handle “cut-rate” utility providers who, in some cases, charged customers thousands of dollars for a single week of power allocation. This price hike was due to the kilowatt per hour increase that some of these electricity distributors charged. At this time, Consumer Protection Attorneys cannot give definitive advice on the escalated electric bills some received, but a realistic expectation is that bills will be drastically reduced in alignment with PUC water legislation. ERCOT is a quasi-governmental entity, so it can be sued under the DTPA, if necessary.
- Should a consumer receive an outrageously expensive electric bill for the “freeze week”, he should attempt to contact PUC www.puc.texas.gov & ERCOT www.ercot.com/about/contact directly. If a consumer is unable to resolve their electric bill issue directly, he should contact a Consumer Protection Attorney who practices under the DTPA statute.
- Should you wish to consult or hire an attorney for a legal matter the Houston Lawyer Referral Service offers low cost 30 minute consultations and attorney who charge reasonable rates. To request a referral, visit www.hlrs.org.
The Supreme Court of Texas has issued a Winter Storm Uri emergency order permitting out of state attorneys to practice Texas law temporarily. The order is attached and can be found here: https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1451832/219027.pdf.
Out of state attorneys must register at www.probonotexas.org/uri before providing pro bono services. Once the registration has been reviewed, the out of state attorney will receive an approval letter that they will need to provide to the organization they wish to volunteer with before providing pro bono legal services.