CenterPoint: Customers should expect higher natural gas bills
By Marcy de Luna February 25, 2021
CenterPoint Energy said Thursday that its customers should expect higher natural gas bills after short supplies and high demand sent natural gas prices soaring during the recent winter storm.
The utility, which has about 1.1 million gas customers in the Houston area, said it spent an additional $1.25 billion buying natural gas last week as temperatures plunged into the teens — and lower. CenterPoint executives said the company will seek a review from the state Railroad Commission, which oversees natural gas utilities, to pass the added costs onto customers.
The failure to sufficiently winterize power plants and equipment has been blamed for the recent power crisis, caused when about half of the state’s generation capacity was knocked off line by the bitter cold. When asked during the earnings call about winterizing equipment, Jason Wells, CenterPoint’s chief financial officer, said winterizing equipment is a challenge for an electric grid built primarily to handle searing summer temperatures and surging demand from air conditioners.