Oklahoma sues natural gas companies over price spikes during 2021 winter storm

The Associated Press - April 11, 2024 7:53 am

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Texas-based natural gas companies are being sued by Oklahoma, which alleges that the companies fraudulently reduced gas supplies to send prices soaring during Winter Storm Uri, making huge profits while thousands shivered across the state.

The lawsuits are Oklahoma’s first against natural gas operators over earnings during the 2021 storm. The suits were filed against Dallas-based ET Gathering & Processing (which acquired Enable Midstream Partners in 2021,) and Houston-based Symmetry Energy Solutions.

Both lawsuits seek actual and punitive damages, as well as a share of any profits that resulted from wrongdoing. Oklahoma’s Republican attorney general, Gentner Drummond, said his office intends to pursue additional litigation against other companies that may have engaged in market manipulation.

“I believe the level of fraud perpetrated on Oklahomans during Winter Storm Uri is both staggering and unconscionable,” Drummond said in a statement. “While many companies conducted themselves above board during that trying time, our analysis indicates that some bad actors reaped billions of dollars in ill-gotten gains.”

A Symmetry spokesperson said in a statement that the company “adamantly denies the unfounded allegations in the lawsuit, which it will vigorously defend.” A message seeking comment left with ET was not immediately returned. The lawsuits were filed in Osage County, Oklahoma.

The devastating storm sent temperatures plummeting across the country and left millions of people without power.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in December against a natural gas marketer operating in that state. In Texas, which was also hit hard by the deadly storm, the electric utility Griddy Energy reached a settlement with state regulators over crushing electric bills its customers received.

 

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