Gov. Kelly, state officials wanting federal investigation after blackouts in Kansas

Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly is urging a federal investigation to protect Kansans from future weather emergencies after the state experienced multiple blackouts during the extreme cold weather this week.

Gov. Kelly wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take all the steps necessary to investigate why the system failed and to protect Kansans from natural gas and electricity price surges because of the increased demand.

“I have directed my administration to use every tool at our disposal to ensure Kansans are protected from price surges, and that our system is better prepared to handle problems created by circumstances like extreme cold weather,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We will remain in communication with the Biden Administration to secure aid, and continue to encourage Congress to pass a stimulus package with state and local funding to provide relief to Kansas communities.”

Kansas Corporation Commission Chair Andrew French, Commissioner Dwight D. Keen, and Commissioner Susan K. Duffy also signed onto the letter, wanting an investigation.

“The recent energy pricing and supply emergency will have serious financial implications for all Kansans and the KCC will take every action within our authority to ease that burden,” Chairman French said. “However, our jurisdictional reach is limited. We need swift and decisive leadership at the federal level, as well.”

Ultimately, the governor and KCC are wanting the following from the FERC:

  • Examine the circumstances that reduced the supply of natural gas and compromised pressures on interstate pipelines.
  • Exercise its authority under Sections 4A and 23 of the Natural Gas Act and take all actions within its power to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of natural gas price indices.
  • Work with NERC to investigate whether additional reliability mechanisms are needed to respond to similar events like this in the future.

You can read the full video below.

Sen. Roger Marshall is also wanting a federal investigation. According to a spokesperson for him, Marshall sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to look at the reliability of the electric grid in extreme weather events such as the recent arctic blast.

“I appreciate the dedication of officials in Kansas to ensuring our businesses and residents have the natural gas and propane needed to continue powering their homes and businesses through this cold weather. While we continue to do all we can at the federal level to confirm no foul play or price gouging has occurred and to support our utility companies and community leaders as they work diligently to keep Kansans warm, I believe it is prudent to exam the reliability, resiliency, and affordability of electricity and natural gas when the system is stressed. The Midwest and Great Plains have seen cold weather before. Electricity generators and natural gas producers in the north consistently operate in extreme cold weather. The ultimate questions become, ‘Why weren’t we prepared’” and ‘What can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?’”

Sen. Roger Marshall

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