A $100 million ($126 million) lawsuit against two power companies for gross negligence was brought by the mother of an 11-year-old boy who died after losing electricity and heat in their Texas mobile home during last week’s freeze.
It came as after the winter storm, more than eight million people continued to have problems with their water supply, which resulted in record low temperatures.
Four million people have lost electricity and at least 24 people have died in a snowstorm.
Maria Pineda said that the Texas Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT) and Entergy Corp are responsible for the death of her son, Cristian Pavon Pineda, who was found unresponsive at home on the morning of February 16, where he and his three-year-old brother shared a bed.
The lawsuit filed on Saturday local time accused the defendants of ignoring a proposal by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to “winterise” the power grid after similar conditions in 2011, and were caught “wholly unprepared” when the grid collapsed last week.
Cristian froze to death “because [the] grid wasn’t a priority, and the energy provider made decisions based on profits”, said the complaint filed in the Jefferson County District Court.
The family resides in Conroe, Texas, a suburb of Houston.
ERCOT, a cooperative responsible for around 90 per cent of Texas’ electricity, said that after reviewing the lawsuit, it would respond “accordingly”
Entergy refused to address the lawsuit, but it was “deeply saddened by the loss of life” a spokesperson said.
Tony Buzbee, Ms Pineda’s lawyer, told ABC News that he represented seven families who died in the aftermath of the storm, and further cases were expected against power companies.
An autopsy on Cristian is being done, the media organisation said.
ERCOT started rolling blackouts on February 15, claiming they were required to avert a cascading, statewide outage.
“We are confident that our grid operators made the right choice,” ERCOT said on Monday, local time.
On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed a major declaration of catastrophe for Texas.
Texas has an uncommon, deregulated market for electricity that avoids federal control, but restricts its ability to draw emergency power from other grids.