Senator seeks probe of natural gas price spikes

A Democratic senator is calling for federal investigations into possible price gouging of natural gas in the Midwest and other regions after the severe winter storms.

By

National News

February 22, 2021 - 8:58 AM

Flaring of natural gas in the Permian Basin of West Texas has fallen to the lowest level in nearly a decade after production plunged during the coronavirus pandemic.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic senator is calling for federal investigations into possible price gouging of natural gas in the Midwest and other regions following severe winter storms that plunged Texas and other states into a deep freeze that caused power outages in millions of homes and businesses.

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith says natural gas spot prices spiked as high as 100 times typical levels, forcing utilities and other natural gas users to incur exorbitant costs, many of which were passed on to customers.

In a letter sent Saturday to federal regulators, Smith said the price spikes will not just harm consumers, but could “threaten the financial stability of some utilities that do not have sufficient cash reserves to cover their short-term costs in this extraordinary event.” The letter was sent to the Energy Department, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press. 

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