As natural gas prices surge, Winfield pleads for relief

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WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) – In a normal year, Winfield will spend $1.6 million on natural gas. During the recent arctic blast, the bill grew well over $10 million in a span of six days.

“How does the community the size of Winfield pay for that gas supply?” Taggart Wall, Winfield City manager asked.

Taggart adds he has never seen a surge like this. He explained the cost of natural gas is 150 times more than normal.

The city has been working to conserve energy by closing schools and factories, but the cost still racked up.

“It’s not like the city makes money off of this. This is simply just the price of the commodity,” he said.

Winfield is now pleading for help.

“We don’t have $10 million sitting here to help with that. We’re asking is our state and federal authorities to step in at this point,” Taggart said.

A spokesperson for Governor Laura Kelly said in a statement Thursday, “Governor Kelly is considering all available avenues to provide relief to Kansas communities seeing surges from gas prices. In addition to her conversation with President Biden this week asking for federal assistance, she continues to urge Congress to pass a long-overdue stimulus package providing needed state and local funding to address emergency events like this one.”

Attorney General Derek Schmidt is also looking into the issue. John Milburn, public information officer with the AG’s office shared the following statement Thursday:

“The Attorney General is concerned about these shocking price spikes. Regulation of natural gas is complex, with some authority exclusively federal and some jurisdiction left to the states. We are assessing whether the law provides a role for our office in this matter.”

Taggart said if the town does not get some sort of relief, people can expect a massive bill, “For an average residential customer you might be talking somewhere between $2 and $3,000 worth of charges.”

Taggart said usually a monthly bill is around $100. He said he’s concerned that the bill could get worse for Winfield, as gas prices have not yet dropped.

Taggart is encouraging residents to continue to cut back and conserve energy.

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