New Data Show Price Spike Could Cost Families Hundreds of Dollars; Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Holds Hearing & Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Announces Investigation

WASHINGTON, D.C. [2/23/21]—Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said more information is coming to light about how families will be hurt financially following the price of natural gas quickly spiking when extreme weather hit Texas and other parts of the central United States. During a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MN PUC) hearing earlier today, utilities shared how these costs are projected to be passed on to customers, with major utilities estimating per customer costs averaging $250 or more.

Additionally, yesterday, following Sen. Smith’s letter seeking an investigation, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced that they had launched an investigation into potential wrongdoing surrounding the natural gas price hikes.

“Over the last two days, we’ve learned more about the effects of the natural gas price spikes on families in Minnesota and across the country, and it appears to be even worse than we initially feared,” said Sen. Smith. “Major utilities are projecting costs for residential customers of hundreds of dollars, and some smaller utilities are projecting costs may reach as high as $1,000 per customer.

“I’m glad that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has launched an investigation into this issue, and I urge them to utilize every tool available to them. Now is not the time for a timid approach to enforcement, or for a slap on the wrist, if it is determined that gas producers violated the law and ripped off families across the Midwest at a time of national emergency.”

You can access the letter Sen. Smith sent on February 20 calling for an investigation here. You can access more information about the MN PUC hearing here.

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