“We are monitoring irregularities in the Texas energy markets following last week’s freeze,” Rostin Behnam, acting chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in a speech Tuesday.
Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota wrote a letter to regulators Saturday urging them to investigate possible price gouging for natural gas. She pointed to how natural gas prices spiked in some cases to nearly 100 times typical levels.
“These drastic price increases are forcing utilities and other natural gas users to incur exorbitant costs, much of which could be passed along to consumers in the form of higher electric or natural gas bills over the next year,” Smith wrote.
Behnam said Tuesday that the CFTC is “prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect the integrity of our markets,” noting that the agency is looking specifically at areas where there is a “federal nexus” with CFTC regulated markets and futures contracts traded on exchanges.
‘Weakness’ in energy systems exposed
“This Arctic blast highlighted weakness in our energy infrastructure that will likely be challenged and stressed more often in the future as a result of more frequent extreme weather events,” Behnam said.
“The effects of climate change are already apparent,” FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Monday, “and we must do everything we can within our statutory authority to ensure that the electric grid is capable of keeping the lights on in the face of extreme weather.”
Go to the news source: Regulators examine Texas energy market after natural gas prices soared 10,000%