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Skyrocketing gas prices during February cold-snap leads to federal investigation

DENVER (KRDO) -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it will look into potential fraud and market manipulation of natural gas prices during the February cold-snap.

Natural gas prices reached record-breaking levels during a four-day period last month. Market prices of about $2.50/Dekatherm skyrocketed to nearly $200/Dekatherm. Forcing utility companies like Colorado Springs Utilities to spend nearly tens times as much as they would during a typical week.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser sent a letter to FERC on Tuesday praising them for this investigation. Saying in a statement that, "while those costs are now being pushed to customers, some companies like an investment bank gained $210 million from the gas and electricity price increase."

"We're concerned about what happened," Weiser says, "natural gas prices went through the roof and if we can't do something about it there is a risk that Colorado ratepayers will be left on the hook for something we really had nothing to do with."

Weiser said this investigation is going to take time to conduct, "We've got to figure out, who did what? Was it illegal? And can we get money back?"

This announcement from Weiser happening the same day the Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved a natural gas rate increase for Colorado Springs Utility customers.

Starting in April, customers will see about $20 added to their bill for the next 14 months to make up the more than $100 million that CSU spent on natural gas during the extreme cold weather in February.

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Chase Golightly

Comments

10 Comments

  1. Also investigate CS Utilities. Everyone will have $20 added to their bill for 14 months. Why should a person with a 500 square foot house pay as much as a person with a 5000 square foot house? Charge people what they used and not some number you pulled out of your a$$.

    1. Yeah, they did choose an odd way to handle this. It seems like it would make much more sense to just raise the amount they charge per cubic foot

    2. If you read correctly… it is an “Average” increase in a residential utility bill. Some will be more and some will be less based on your usage. It is not an across the board fee on every utility bill.

  2. City council, working hard for the corporations and their lobbyist financing.

  3. “The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced it will look into potential fraud and market manipulation of natural gas prices during the February cold-snap.
    Natural gas prices reached record-breaking levels during a four-day period last month. Market prices of about $2.50/Dekatherm skyrocketed to nearly $200/Dekatherm.”
    If it looks like price gouging, and it smells like price gouging, it must be…
    Colorado Springs city council’s response, well before the conclusion of this investigation to verify if this potential fraud and market manipulation occurred during these 4 days in February or not, we will still tell our constituents they will have to pay for it.
    Seem to be on the up and up, more normalcy brought to you by Colorado Springs politicians.

  4. Let’s see who this investigation rules in favor of.

    There is just too much corruption in government to believe that ‘We the people” will prevail when large lobbies, corporations and banks rule over our government that rules over us.

    The poor and middle class are not being represented and it is right in our faces and coming from every level of government.

    These gas price manipulations are as blatant an example of price gouging as it gets. When one cold snap event can have such a impact on utility rates the system is corrupt and broken.

    Imagine how much we would be paying if the cold snap had gone on for a week or longer which is possible.

      1. My first thoughts too were if this coming storm will be another gas price gouging opportunity.

        The FERC had better advocate for we utility consumers or we will be screwed again and again and again.

  5. Never let a crisis go to waste…

    It’s time former LA California CSU CEO Aram Benyamin understand that it will get cold every winter in Colorado Springs.

    1. ColoFornia Springs has gotten cold every winter the only thing different is this price gouging scam.

      A economic breaking point is on too many people in ColoFornia Springs by caused by too much corruption at every turn.

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