Corporation Commissioner warns of natural gas prices this week

In a statement on Friday, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony suggested this weekend’s extreme cold weather reminds him of what happened 3 years ago when Oklahoma experienced historic high natural gas prices.
He urged consumers to watch for the “price” more than “supply.”
A quick timeline of 2021:
  • Citing “increasingly tightening conditions in the Southwest Power Pool’s service territory,” PSO began asking customers to conserve power usage late in the evening on Feb. 14.  (See PSO’s Twitter feed,, Feb. 14-20, 2021.)  Planned service disruptions began Feb. 16 and were ended by Feb. 17.
  • Citing supply shortages, ONG began asking customers to conserve their natural gas usage on Feb. 15.  (See ONG’s Twitter feed,, Feb. 16-26, 2021.) 
  • Citing orders from the Southwest Power Pool, “extremely low temperatures and inadequate supplies of natural gas,” OG&E began temporary service interruptions on Feb. 16 at about 7:00 am.  They ended about three hours later at 10:15 am. (See OG&E’s newly-created Twitter feed,, Feb. 16-25, 2021.)  The Southwest Power Pool began asking customers to conserve power usage late on Feb. 14 but it is not clear if OG&E ever made a request of its own before it began service interruptions.

In short, service disruptions during the 2021 Winter Storm in Oklahoma were actually pretty minimal (a few hours).  The real story was not the natgas “supply shortage” but THE PRICES THE UTILITIES PAID for that natgas.  

According to the federal Energy Information Agency, Oklahomans paid the highest prices ever in the history of the United States for natgas during the February 2021 Winter Storm: 

(More below.)

Advised Anthony—“But as best we can tell, NONE of these companies made any public announcements or otherwise notified their residential customers of the astronomical price increases that were occurring.  They did tell their industrial customers however, who largely shut down operations rather than pay those prices (and, if they hadn’t, would probably have been cut off anyway to prioritize residential heat over economic activity due to the supply shortages).”

He questioned whether the utilities would inform the public in real time about price spikes this time, adding, “Also, one of the complicating factors in the February 2021 natgas price surge was the three-day Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 13-14-15) that came in the middle of the winter storm (artificially extended the applicability of the manipulated Feb. 12 prices).  Interestingly, it appears this 2024 storm too will incorporate a three-day weekend (MLK Day), during which Friday’s prices will be artificially extended over Sat-Sun-Mon, not just the weekend.  (The Index Price is based on an average of the previous day’s trades that were reported to the index. On days when the market is closed, the previous day’s index price is carried over.)”

Natural gas indices are regional, differentiating between prices for trades of natgas depending on which regional hub the gas is delivered through.  The OGT (ONEOK Gas Transmission) pricing location is the one through which most Oklahoma gas is priced.  (The Southern Star pricing location is the subject of the Kansas A.G’s lawsuit alleging index price manipulation by Macquarie in 2021.  The Henry Hub in Louisiana is considered the “national” price.)