(SAN ANTONIO) – May 21, 2021 – CPS Energy announced key updates today on a number of its lawsuits against certain natural gas suppliers over the exorbitant and unconscionable prices they charged during Winter Storm Uri.
In recent weeks, certain CPS Energy natural gas suppliers have reported significant first quarter earnings that, in many cases, were the outcome of the price gouging and gross overcharging that they engaged in during Winter Storm Uri. CPS Energy is committed to holding these suppliers accountable, and while the utility has paid its gas suppliers all undisputed charges, the company has not paid charges it believes are illegitimate.
“To be clear, in many cases, the profits have been amassed by illegally overcharging San Antonio’s residents and other Texans for natural gas during a state and federally declared disaster. Fortunately for our customers, the Texas and U.S. legal system widely acknowledges that this price gouging – up to 15,000% increases in prices – during a state and federally declared natural disaster is against the public’s interest. It is a violation of public policy, and any related contracts are unenforceable,” said Paula Gold-Williams, President & CEO of CPS Energy.
In March, CPS Energy filed lawsuits against 18 of its natural gas suppliers after they abused their power during Winter Storm Uri and engaged in price gouging. In response, many of CPS Energy’s suppliers have filed breach of contract counterclaims against CPS Energy. However, basic principles of contract law make the contract terms in question unenforceable from the outset.
CPS Energy had no bargaining power during the storm. It acted in direct service of its customers by fulfilling its requirements as a public utility, and had no choice but to buy natural gas at any price in order to provide heat and power to its customers during prolonged sub-freezing temperatures. Many of CPS Energy’s natural gas suppliers chose to try to take advantage of the declared disaster by charging unconscionable prices for a necessity. Despite clear principles against doing so, some gas suppliers surprisingly continue to attempt to collect charges that are a direct result of price gouging.
CPS Energy remains confident in the legal strategy for each of its cases and will continue to fight to protect its customers from these unconscionable charges. The company is grateful to those gas suppliers who continue to engage in productive conversations about how to move forward.
Additional statements regarding select cases can be found on the statements section of CPS Energy’s website.