A group called NGTCC has been fighting this, saying there’s no way the massive price jump was legitimate… but after a ruling by the KCC virtually shutting them down, you might start to see those higher bills soon.
“We were braced for that or kind of, hearing the news reports and thought, well, let’s see where this goes,” said Wichita resident Tom Gard recalling the bitter cold weeks.
The index price for natural gas on February 1st was $2.54. On February 17th, it was $622.78.
“That is a 32,000% increase in 16 days. We believe that that’s wholly inaccurate,” said NGTCC lawyer Jim Zakoura.
Zakoura represents the Natural Gas Transportation Customer Coalition, the group that’s been trying to get to the bottom of it. But it’s hit a dead end with the KCC.
“We asked the KCC to permit us to investigate the index and to help us by issuing a subpoena. So we could get to the bottom of this, and they refuse to do so.”
The KCC said in a statement Thursday, in part, “while NGTCC may raise legitimate concerns, this commission is simply not the forum for such an investigation.”
It added that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would be the ones responsible for doing the investigation, something Zakoura worries will end it for good.
“Essentially, they sent the entire economic problem, or as I would say, the economic mess, from Kansas, back to Washington, DC, where we’ll probably never hear of it again. And certainly won’t hear about for several years,” said Zakoura
To mitigate the cost, Wichita residents will have to pay about $600 each. The question now is when and in how many installments.
“The commission is going to probably give KGS ten years to collect seven days of natural gas costs because to do otherwise would just be too crippling to the residential customers,” said Zakoura.
“Let’s get a resolution here and see if we can, you know, make sure everybody can adjust to it. And without significant impact on your household,” said Gard.
Neither Kansas Gas Service nor Black Hills Energy have set dates or made final plans on how they’ll charge customers.
Read More: Higher gas bills from February’s cold snap might be around the corner