Kansas lawmakers seek relief from increases in natural gas prices following arctic blast

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, Rep. Ron Estes, Rep. Tracey Mann, Rep. Jake LaTurner, and Rep. Sharice Davids sent letters on Tuesday to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick amid extreme increases in natural gas prices.

They are asking Glick to consider expeditiously Governor Laura Kelly’s emergency request to protect Kansans from the potentially severe economic consequences following the arctic blast last week. They are also looking into the price spike and seeing what can be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I really think we need some type of investigation before we rely upon the federal government to try to solve this problem. We need to go back to those gas companies and figure out exactly why this price went so high,” said Sen. Marshall.

Rep. Estes, Rep. Mann and Rep. LaTurner all put out statements.

“Simply put, families, communities and small businesses are concerned about how they will pay their utility bills after the devastating temperatures our state faced last week, and I’m committed to working with FERC to find answers and provide relief for these Kansans,” said Rep. Estes.

“We saw unprecedented demand for electricity and natural gas while supplies and delivery systems were challenged. This is why I am joining my Kansas colleagues in reaching out to FERC Chairman Richard Glick to quickly review the impacts of extreme winter weather on grid operations,” said Rep. Mann.

“It is critical we ensure Kansans are not penalized economically in the form of exceedingly high utility bills due to the surge in energy demand. I am committed to working with the FERC to find a solution,” said Rep. LaTurner.

Letters sent to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick:

The Honorable Richard Glick, Chairman
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20426

Dear Chairman Glick,

For more than a week, Kansas and multiple states across the Great Plains and surrounding region was hit with an arctic blast, with temperatures in Kansas setting new record-lows. The prolonged and widespread cold put outsized pressure on our nation’s natural gas supply. On February 8, natural gas traded for $3 MMBTus. On the 17th, that number ranged between $129 and $622 MMBTus. That put costs at more than 2000% to 20,000% their normal levels. Natural gas makes up more than a third of Kansas’s energy portfolio, making it a primary source of energy for many Kansas homes and businesses.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a state disaster declaration and the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued an emergency order directing utilities to do everything possible and necessary to ensure continued delivery of natural gas, propane and electricity to Kansas customers. Kansas companies had their power cut and Kansans experienced rolling blackouts.

Governor Kelly, the Chairman of the KCC, and other Commissioners of the KCC have now submitted a request with the goal of protecting customers from the potentially severe economic consequences of this event. In Kansas, we are especially concerned that energy service is reliable and affordable.  We are keen to ensure that the integrity of energy markets is never compromised. We ask you to consider her request expeditiously. We also request that you review all relevant circumstances of this situation and take the necessary steps needed to address this crisis, and take timely steps to see that it does not recur.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and timely consideration of Governor Kelly’s request. Please call or write our offices should you need additional information, or if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Roger Marshall, M.D.

United States Senator

Sharice Davids
U.S. Representative

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