Attorney General Phil Weiser urges federal energy regulators to protect Coloradans from utility bill spikes in wake of February winter storm
March 9, 2021 (DENVER)—Colorado consumers should be protected from unfair and unreasonable price hikes on their utility bills if federal regulators find that natural gas market violations occurred during last month’s winter storm that left millions without power, says Attorney General Phil Weiser in a letter he sent today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Weiser said he appreciates that FERC will examine whether the recent unprecedented spikes in natural gas prices were the result of any fraud or market manipulation. In addition, he expressed concerns about reports that an investment bank benefited from a $210 million “windfall” from the gas and electricity price swing.
“My office strongly supports the work of FERC and the Office of Enforcement to ensure that utilities with contracts to procure natural gas are protected from market manipulation of those commodities. Similarly, I wish to ensure that Colorado consumers are protected from unfair and unreasonable impacts on their utility bills where any increased costs are not reflective of supply and demand and competitive market forces,” Weiser says in the letter. “Should FERC determine that market participants engaged in fraudulent or manipulative behavior that improperly drove up short-term profits and impacted the price of natural gas for utilities serving Colorado, we request that FERC disgorge any illegal gains and accord refunds, as appropriate, to those utilities, thereby protecting Colorado consumers from such manipulation.”
Governor Jared Polis said: “Colorado is grateful for the leadership of Attorney General Phil Weiser in investigating market manipulation and protecting consumers. Protecting consumers from price increases on their bills is incredibly important, especially during our recovery, and I fully support FERC doing a thorough and complete investigation and, if warranted, getting relief for Colorado consumers.”
Read Attorney General Weiser’s letter to FERC.