FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dave Schryver, APGA President and CEO
Phone: (202) 464-2742
APGA Disappointed with FERC’s Storm Uri Recommendations
Washington, D.C. (September 23, 2021) – The American Public Gas Association (APGA), representing more than 700 local, municipally-owned natural gas systems in 38 states, issued the following statement in response to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Open Meeting regarding this past February’s Storm Uri:
APGA is disappointed with the preliminary recommendations discussed at the FERC Open Meeting today for Storm Uri. The report is silent on the historic increases in the price of natural gas that consumers experienced, the consumer and market impacts of those price increases, and most importantly what can be done to protect natural gas consumers in the future from extreme weather.
Storm Uri challenged the natural gas industry with an unprecedented crisis. The severe cold weather led to natural gas prices increasing over 300 percent, forcing even small municipal utilities to spend millions of dollars more than usual. There will be a multiple billion-dollar bill for these unconscionable prices. For years to come, consumers will be burdened with payments covering just a few days of gas to keep their homes warm. Many of these consumers are customers of APGA members in small communities across the middle of the country.
These price increases, along with the increases in demand due to the extreme cold weather, placed significant strains on many public natural gas systems, which had no choice but to purchase the gas at the inflated prices or pay even steeper pipeline penalties to ensure that their customers could continue to heat their homes. In one case, a municipal utility spent its monthly gas budget each day over President’s Day weekend. In another instance, a joint action agency expended three times its annual gas purchasing budget just to buy gas for its members for four days. Another APGA member spent approximately seven times more for natural gas in February than normal. Others received force majeure notices from their suppliers. This crisis hit public natural gas systems particularly hard because their supply options are captive to a single pipeline.
The impact of Storm Uri demands bolder action at the federal, as well as state, level to help ensure that consumers are protected from another economic catastrophe in the future. APGA, working closely with its members affected by this historic event, developed a white paper with potential solutions to protect consumers from these types of events in the future. The white paper can be viewed at www.apga.org/uri-whitepaper.
APGA looks forward to working with FERC, Congress and others to ensure that consumers are protected from these types of events in the future.