Marshall, Davids call on federal commission to consider emergency request after arctic blast

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall and Representative Sharice Davids want a federal commission to hurry up and approve Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s emergency request.

As the bitter cold stretch reached its peak last week Kelly issued a  disaster declaration and the Kansas Corporation Commission  issued an emergency order directing utilities to do everything possible to make sure customers could still get  natural gas, propane and electricity. There were rolling blackouts and natural gas prices skyrocketed as much as 20,000%. 

Tuesday, Marshall and Davids called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act on the request quickly. 

“I’m looking for the sweetspot moving in the right direction environmentally but also reasonable economic prices and this all of the above energy policy that prevent brownouts from happening,” Marshall told FOX 4. 

Kansas Gas Service said its working on a plan to minimize the financial impact on customers over a reasonable period of time. But it also says if you used more gas, you’ll pay more.

Part of the letter directs the commission to make sure nothing like happens last week ever happens again. Marshall said that could be accomplished through innovation and not necessarily sweeping energy reform. 

Full Text of Letter:

Dear Chairman Glick,

For more than a week, Kansas and multiple states across the Great Plains and surrounding region was hit with an arctic blast, with temperatures in Kansas setting new record-lows. The prolonged and widespread cold put outsized pressure on our nation’s natural gas supply. On February 8, natural gas traded for $3 MMBTus. On the 17th, that number ranged between $129 and $622 MMBTus. That put costs at more than 2000% to 20,000% their normal levels. Natural gas makes up more than a third of Kansas’s energy portfolio, making it a primary source of energy for many Kansas homes and businesses.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a state disaster declaration and the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) issued an emergency order directing utilities to do everything possible and necessary to ensure continued delivery of natural gas, propane and electricity to Kansas customers. Kansas companies had their power cut and Kansans experienced rolling blackouts.

Governor Kelly, the Chairman of the KCC, and other Commissioners of the KCC have now submitted a request with the goal of protecting customers from the potentially severe economic consequences of this event. In Kansas, we are especially concerned that energy service is reliable and affordable.  We are keen to ensure that the integrity of energy markets is never compromised. We ask you to consider her request expeditiously. We also request that you review all relevant circumstances of this situation and take the necessary steps needed to address this crisis, and take timely steps to see that it does not recur.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and timely consideration of Governor Kelly’s request. Please call or write our offices should you need additional information, or if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

Roger Marshall, M.D.
United States Senator

Sharice Davids
U.S. Representative

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