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CPS Energy sues 15 natural gas companies over pricing during winter storm

On Feb. 23, four days after the end of February’s winter storm, Dallas-based pipeline giant Energy Transfer sent an email to CPS Energy seeking payment for natural gas deliveries during the storm.

Energy Transfer wanted $317.5 million. The company told CPS that “due to the unprecedented weather event over the past 10 days, the price of natural gas rose dramatically,” adding that its “credit exposure to CPS Energy has risen accordingly.”

But according to CPS Energy, Energy Transfer was charging natural gas prices 15,000% higher than Texas utilities were paying before the storm hit. The utility included the email in a lawsuit filed Friday in a San Antonio court that accused Energy Transfer of “opportunistic price gouging” during the storm.

“During the disaster, CPS Energy had no bargaining power to speak of – it had to pay defendants’ outrageous prices in order to keep the light and heat on in homes in its service area and elsewhere, and to continue delivering natural gas to its customers,” CPS Energy’s petition states.

The lawsuit was part of a legal blitz CPS Energy lawyers launched over the past several days, filing at least 15 lawsuits against natural gas companies in multiple state district courts in Bexar County. Natural gas charges make up the bulk of the more than $1 billion in winter storm costs CPS Energy President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams has called a “financial tsunami.”

In its suit against Energy Transfer, CPS Energy described the companies as “profiteers” who were “eager to collect their ill-gotten paper gains.” The price of nautral gas skyrocketed from $2.60 per 1 million Btu (MMBtu) in early February to $500 per MMBtu, the price Energy Transfer subsidiaries Houston Pipe Line Co. and Oasis Pipeline charged on Feb. 17 as the whole state struggled in sub-freezing temperatures.

Read More: CPS Energy sues 15 natural gas companies over pricing during winter storm

2021-03-24 02:00:00

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