Concerns over natural gas price gouging in Oklahoma as winter storm approaches

Concerns over natural gas price gouging in Oklahoma as winter storm approaches

OKLAHOMA Metropolis (KFOR) – As our condition receives established for another wintertime storm, many are hoping we don’t see a repeat of what took place at this time past yr.

Oklahoma utility providers paid hundreds of situations value to strength firms for purely natural gasoline to hold lights on and furnaces lit in households and organizations in February of 2021. All those prices are now becoming handed on to fee payers, but why was that authorized to occur in the 1st area?

Oklahoma does have rules that shield buyers from rate gouging for the duration of emergencies but those rules never utilize to petroleum products on the commodities market.

“We do have regulations that shield our customers below in the state of Oklahoma from selling price gouging,” reported Meredith Wegener, OCU Legislation Professor.

Specialists are chatting about the Unexpected emergency Cost Stabilization Act.

Previous February, we noticed document chilly temperatures. Gov. Kevin Stitt declared an unexpected emergency. That’s when the act kicks in avoiding companies from increasing costs extra than 10 percent for goods in high need.

“Think about a substantial snow storm. The very last issue you want to do is have your community hardware shop jack up the rate on snow shovels or rest room paper or no matter what it could be that people today are on the lookout for. It’s not honest to the customers to allow for them to selling price gouge like that. Nicely the similar really should apply to petroleum commodities, regretably it doesn’t,” reported Rep. Andy Fugate.

Photo goes with story
The 2021 winter storm.

The Democrat from Del Metropolis is referring to the exceptions to the statute. In point out legislation the pretty to start with matter listed is “regional, nationwide or global petroleum commodity marketplaces.”

“That was a alter that was designed in 2008 to specifically incorporate petroleum commodities,” explained Fugate.

Fugate claims Senate Invoice 1554 designed those modifications. The legislation was co-authored by Secretary of State Brian Bingman, again when he was a state senator. We arrived at out to his business office but did not get a reaction. Specialists say the simple fact that oil and gas are traded in markets outside the house of the condition make cost gouging legislation questionable with commodities.

We achieved out to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office. They despatched us the next assertion:

“The Lawyer Standard has in simple fact been investigating these issues given that soon right after the February 2021 winter storm started. Though the company will not offer updates of its investigation, the Attorney Normal can confirm that it continues to be ongoing.”

OKLAHOMA Legal professional GENERAL’S Office

So what is currently being done to make sure what happened very last February does not transpire all over again? Fugate says there desires to be a law alter so legislation enforcement can do their job.

“We want to have the Lawyer General’s Office going out and investigating and prosecuting people individuals who unfairly profited off the people of Oklahoma,” said Fugate.

Fugate suggests he argued very last spring for regulation improvements so that the lawyer normal could go back and retrieve cash expended on petroleum commodities, but that improve was shot down.. He claims he is not aware of any new legislation on the docket this session that would transform the latest legal guidelines.

Ferne Dekker

Learn More →