Amid water shortages and power outages, Texans mourn rising prices for $ 1,000 bottled water, gas and hotel rooms

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Some businesses in Texas are hitting consumers when they are falling. Lina Hidalgo, the judge for Harris County, the largest county in Texas, said this week that Houston residents, already affected by power outages and severe weather, have complained about abusive prices. “We have heard reports of outrageous prices on necessities like food, water and housing. We will not tolerate excessive price increases. Violators can face fines of up to $ 250,000, ”he wrote on Twitter.

“The main type of thing we’re looking at is hotels setting prices at ridiculous rates,” Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee told the Associated Press. “We have seen reports of packages of water sold for two to three times the normal price, or divided packages of water and individual bottles sold at excessive prices.” In one case, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in Austin advertised a room for $ 999 a night. In a statement, the hotel told KVUE television news: “We do not tolerate excessive price increases and we require hotels to comply with all local, state and federal laws. In speaking with the owner of this independently owned and operated hotel, we understand that the temporary rate increases seen online were the result of the property working to close its inventory while managing the loss of energy and other utilities. “” We have since been assured that guests were not charged, nor was there any intention to charge, the rates shown. While the hotel does not accept new reservations, guests currently staying at the property they are allowed to extend their stay at no additional cost while they wait for conditions to improve. ”On Friday, about 200,000 homes and businesses were without power in Texas, according to the Associated Press, compared to about 3 million just two days earlier. However, there were approximately 14 million people under orders to boil the water. Residents are, understandably, frustrated. and people with a boil water notice here in Texas, without electricity or gas. How are you supposed to know you’re on a boil water notice if you can’t get out of your house and there’s no way to check the news? “This woman wrote on Twitter,” and how you are supposed to boil water without electricity or gas. ”

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Winter Storm Uri brought sharp drops in temperature that caused catastrophic power grid failure in Texas. About 320,000 people are without power in the state, up from 3 million the day before. fake images

Excessive price increases on essentials during a declared emergency in Texas is illegal under the law. That includes “selling or renting fuel, food, medicine or other necessities at an exorbitant or excessive price.” Those who do are subject to a civil penalty of up to $ 20,000 for each violation or up to $ 250,000 if the victim was over 65. Freezing rain and low temperatures have created dangerous conditions in the state. Power outages, frozen pipes bursting in buildings and homes have been reported across the state. To file a complaint, officials recommend that residents take a photo of the receipt and send it to the county attorney with details of the business, time and date of purchase, and brand name item. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said: “No one is exempt from the price increase laws in Texas. Anyone who sells goods, necessities or services at an exorbitant price will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I will not tolerate any person or business illegally taking advantage of Texans, ”according to a statement that his office posted on Twitter TWTR, + 0.03%. Five days after the severe winter storm paralyzed the state’s power grid, Republican Senator Ted Cruz flew to Cancun on Wednesday with his family, but after photos of the senator at the airport and on the plane sparked a backlash in On social media, the senator quickly returned to Texas on Thursday and said he only planned to stay one night. However, Cruz later told Houston’s KTRK-TV that “the plan had been to stay with the family for the weekend.” He said he had “doubts” about the trip to Cancun when he boarded the plane, and said the decision to leave the state while hundreds of thousands of people were without power was “obviously a mistake.” “When I arrived and saw the initial firestorm, what had started as doubts that I had as soon as we left became even greater,” he told the local television station. “I’m certainly sorry this has become a distraction.” He added, “I was taking care of my family in the same way that Texans across the state took care of my family.” One journalist described that mistake as a “Freudian slip.”