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Calls grow for investigation into natural gas supplies

Gas Pipelines-Investigation
Posted at 4:33 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 17:33:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This week’s historic cold snap across the Midwest and South put pressure on natural gas supplies, increasing prices as a result.

Those price increases have drawn the interest of political leaders, who are now calling for an investigation into price gouging.

Missouri’s federal lawmaker delegation, including Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, as well as seven of the eight members of the state’s congressional delegation, signed a letter Thursday calling on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Richard Glick to launch a review into the natural gas supply during the cold spell.

In the letter, the members say they’ve received information that limited natural gas supplies are making it difficult for utility providers to generate enough electricity to meet demand.

Twice this week, the Southwest Power Pool, which coordinates power across a 14-state region that includes all of Kansas and a part of Missouri, directed member utilities to initiate planned rolling power outages to reduce the load on the electrical grid. It was the first time in the 80-year history of the SPP that utilities were directed to curtail power.

“We respectfully request FERC to expeditiously review the circumstances of this situation as it relates to natural gas supplies, the rates of interstate transmission of natural gas, and take the necessary steps needed to address this crisis," the letter said.

Also on Thursday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson used a portion of his weekly briefing to raise concerns that price gouging involving natural gas might have made matters worse.

Parson said he’d direct Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt to investigate any claims of price gouging.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.