Kansas regulators have opened investigations into the practices of seven utilities and gas supply firms during the February storm that resulted in historic gas prices and rolling blackouts in some areas of the state. One of the targets of the investigation is Kansas Gas Service, a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based ONE Gas.
Kansas Gas Service is the state’s largest natural gas distribution company and operates in 82 of the 105 counties in Kansas. It serves 634,000 customers in 360 communities and has 1,000 employees.
The others are: Evergy, the largest utility provider in the Kansas City area, Liberty Empire, Southern Pioneer, Atmos Energy, Black Hills Energy, and American Energies Gas Service.
The KCC said the investigations will examine each utility’s proposal to minimize the financial impacts of the February weather emergency on its customers. The high demand, along with generation facility issues due to cold weather, created supply shortages and extraordinarily high energy prices.
An Emergency Order issued by the Commission on February 15 ordered regulated utilities to defer those costs for review and to present a plan to minimize ratepayer impact over a reasonable timeframe.
The investigations will also address the cause of reduced natural gas supplies, high natural gas prices, supply and demand imbalances in the Southwest Power Pool Integrated Market, and what steps can be taken to make sure utilities are better prepared for future extreme weather events.
A report and recommendation filed by KCC Staff on March 1 stated that company specific investigatory dockets would allow staff to tailor its investigation to match each utility’s unique circumstances.