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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Kansas Corporation Commission Denies NGTCC’s Petition For Reconsideration In Kansas Gas Service Winter Weather Docket

TOPEKA – This morning the Kansas Corporation Commission denied a Petition for Reconsideration (PFR) filed by the Natural Gas Transportation Customer Coalition (NGTCC). In its PFR, NGTCC asked the Commission to reconsider its September 9 decision rejecting NGTCC’s motion to subpoena S&P Global Platts Gas Daily for documents relating to the daily gas index during February’s winter weather event.

In today’s Order denying NGTCC’s PFR, the Commission found NGTCC’s request for a subpoena was designed to protect a specific subset of commercial customers (also referred to as Transportation customers) from financial penalties associated with their use of gas supplied by Kansas Gas Service (KGS) when their third party suppliers could not deliver. The requested subpoena was not designed to investigate price manipulation, price gouging, or profiteering in the wholesale markets to protect all Kansas ratepayers from the elevated gas costs of Winter Storm Uri.

“It is the Commission’s job to weigh the evidence, balance interests, and find the right solution for Kansas,” said KCC Chair Andrew French. “Today’s decision does not limit the already expansive scope of our investigations; it simply makes clear no customer groups will be given special treatment at the expense of other customers.”

The order also explains the serious consequences of reducing or eliminating penalties for unauthorized gas usage. Because a portion of the penalties represent the cost of providing gas to transportation customers, eliminating legitimate or appropriate penalties could cause remaining customers to subsidize NGTCC’s members.

“Thus, NGTCC recognizes that by advocating for reduction or elimination of penalties, it is potentially subjecting residential customers to a large portion of the $390 million of additional gas costs that might otherwise be paid by the gas marketers.  So, to be clear, NGTCC is seeking the subpoena for the benefit of its members and their gas marketers, rather than to root out profiteering or to protect residential customers – who NGTCC very clearly does not represent.”

Despite its concerns of potential discrimination against residential customers, the Commission emphasizes no decision has been made on the reasonableness or appropriate amount of any potential penalties, so NGTCC’s argument that it faces excessive penalties is premature. NGTCC and other intervenors will have an opportunity to argue their position as this proceeding progresses.

The Commission’s order concluded by emphasizing the importance of not affording preferential treatment to certain subsets of customers while investigations remain ongoing.

“If FERC finds certain markets or indices should be retroactively adjusted, then all Kansans and Kansas businesses – whether sales or transportation customers – can be treated equitably in accordance with those findings.  Granting NGTCC’s request for special treatment as compared to other Kansans at this phase would be inequitable and wrong.”

Today’s order can be viewed at
http://estar.kcc.ks.gov/estar/ViewFile.aspx?Id=ae27c56a-4294-453f-b098-52d4f08e7bea

A recording of the Commission Business Meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9eApI4p2WE

Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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