Consumer News

AG Derek Schmidt seeks to intervene on behalf of consumers in KCC cases regarding natural gas costs during February winter storm

Release Date: Jul 21, 2021

TOPEKA – (July 21, 2021) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has petitioned state regulators to intervene in upcoming rate hearings for three natural gas companies related to the recovery of costs related to the February winter storm.

Schmidt said today that his office has filed documents with the Kansas Corporation Commission to intervene in dockets opened by regulators for Black Hills Energy, Kansas Gas Service Company and Atmos Energy Corporation. The three companies are seeking KCC approval to recover from their customers costs for natural gas purchased during the winter event, which means those costs could be passed on to consumers.

Under state law, the attorney general has authority to enforce limits on profiteering during a declared disaster and on the filing of false claims for payment from government entities. After natural gas prices spiked during a declared winter weather disaster in February, Schmidt’s office immediately opened an investigation on February 19 to determine whether there is evidence that the unprecedented price increases violated state law. That investigation is ongoing.

“These dramatic price spikes have placed a great burden on many consumers as well as on many Kansas taxpayers,” Schmidt said. “Our investigation into potential illegal acts is separate from the regulatory actions of the Kansas Corporation Commission, and by intervening in the KCC cases we can help ensure the state’s overall response remains coordinated and the interests of consumers, ratepayers and taxpayers are fully represented at every stage of the various proceedings and investigations.”

A copy of the petitions to intervene in the rate hearings can be found at https://bit.ly/3xYL4He.

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