In February 2021, it got really cold in Kansas. It was about 15 degrees below zero for more than a week.
Natural gas prices shot up, in terms of BTUs, from $2.54 on Feb. 1 to $622 by Feb. 17. Then, as if the market had been manipulated again, it dropped back to $2.46 by the end of the month.
The bills for all that are coming due. The Kansas Corporation Commission has decided the extraordinary costs paid by public utility companies for natural gas during that period will be largely covered by residential retail customers — about $622 million spread over 2-10 years.
The KCC action raises many questions. Where are the investigations into price gouging? Was there a missed opportunity to negotiate a better solution on behalf of consumers? What prevents this from happening again in February of 2023
James Zakoura, an energy and public utility attorney with a keen interest in the work of the KCC, joins the Kansas Reflector podcast to delve into these issues.