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Gas and electric prices soar; billing impacts, utility pricing to increase, investigations begin

Weather always impacts energy markets. Massive weather changes impact National energy markets.

The latest Polar Vortex of February 2021 covered nearly 2/3 of North America. The result in the energy markets was immediate. Customers used more energy to stay warm. Utilities demanded more energy to meet demand. Pipelines and electric lines had massive draws.

Prices increased. However, electric generation could not respond as some weren’t winterized and couldn’t start. Gas pipelines originating from Texas and Oklahoma restricted gas supply leaving those states. This resulted in gas pipelines not delivering the request for more gas.

Prices soared, utilities and gas pipelines declared the results of the polar vortex as an unforeseeable circumstance or force majeure. THIS ALLOWED them to make demands and pass-through costs without restraint.

Realgy DOES NOT benefit from any of these events. OUR COSTS to pipelines and utilities went up nearly 10 times. These costs are just passed through. IT’S PAINFUL for us and you, we understand that.

So, energy suppliers feel the costs first. Realgy has to pay our pipeline and supplier for February 2021 gas and delivery already. It’s 10 times what we planned, we had to borrow money to pay these energy costs.

Utilities have seen these costs and will pass them through to their utility supply (gas and electric) over the coming months.

The impact of the February 2021 Polar Vortex:

Yes, every energy supplier marketer/utility suffered higher costs. Yes, every marketer/utility will recover these costs. Yes, utility rates will go up to collect these purchases.

Realgy is doing everything possible to recover only the costs associated with the pipelines and utilities declaring the force majeure. We will offer relief to our customers to help.

Here is a typical reply from utilities:

“Over the last two weeks due to the extreme cold and the incredible demand on the system due to the wintry weather across the nation including Texas, we had to go to market to meet demand above our base plan and we did see higher prices due to the extreme cold that extended into Texas and impacted gas supply.” Sandstrom added he does not know yet what the customer billing impact is going to be but will be working with their regulators to help mitigate impacts to customers. “I also want to clarify that we don’t profit from higher natural gas prices, we are just a distributor and our commodity costs essentially get passed through to our customers. We definitely saw a price spike in the commodity costs for a few days, but bills will tend to be higher regardless as customers used more gas to heat their homes during the polar vortex.”

The investigations are beginning:

State level:

In a letter sent Saturday to federal regulators, Smith said the price spikes will not harm just consumers but, could “threaten the financial stability of some utilities that do not have sufficient cash reserves to cover their short-term costs in this extraordinary event.” The letter was sent to the Energy Department, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced today that its Office of Enforcement is examining wholesale natural gas and electricity market activity during last week’s extreme cold weather to determine if any market participants engaged in market manipulation or other violations.

If the Office of Enforcement finds any potential wrongdoing that can be addressed under FERC’s statutory authority, it will pursue those matters as non-public investigations.

Federal level:

FERC explained that this examination will take place as part of the Division of Analytics and Surveillance’s (DAS) ongoing surveillance of market participant behavior in the wholesale natural gas and electricity markets. The Division uses market participant-level trading data and data from the financial markets to screen daily and monthly trading at the majority of physical and financial natural gas trading hubs in the US and the organized and bilateral wholesale electricity markets. DAS closely identifies and scrutinizes any potentially anticompetitive or manipulative behavior to determine if an investigation is appropriate.

Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include Guaranteed SavingsTM, ManagedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM Index, Fixed and PriceAssuranceTM.

Realgy owns and operates 7 solar plants in Illinois and is looking to invest in additional locations.

Additional Information:

https://www.wdio.com/duluth-minnesota-news/natural-gas-utlities-price-spike-impact/6022819/

https://www.myjournalcourier.com/insider/article/Cold-snap-wanes-but-massive-bills-in-offing-for-15974019.php

https://www.fox9.com/news/concern-grows-for-possible-high-energy-bills-after-spike-in-natural-gas-prices

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/senator-seeks-probe-of-natural-gas-price-spikes-during-storm/ar-BB1dRvPl?ocid=uxbndlbing

https://www.ferc.gov/news-events/news/ferc-examine-potential-wrongdoing-markets-during-recent-cold-snap

https://news.wttw.com/2021/02/20/senator-seeks-probe-natural-gas-price-spikes-during-storm

https://wgem.com/2021/03/03/illinois-congressmen-seeking-investigation-federal-relief-for-surging-natural-gas-prices/

 

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DOE EIA Weekly Gas Storage Report

Working gas in storage was 1,793 Bcf as of Friday, March 5, 2021, according to EIA estimates.

This represents a net decrease of 52 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 257 Bcf less than last year at this time and 141 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,934 Bcf. At 1,793 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.

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Working gas in storage was 1,845 Bcf as of Friday, February 26, 2021, according to EIA estimates.

This represents a net decrease of 98 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 277 Bcf less than last year at this time and 178 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,023 Bcf. At 1,845 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.

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A solar panel in space is collecting energy that could one day be beamed to anywhere on Earth

Launched in May 2020, a panel attached to an unmanned drone has been looping Earth to harness the sun’s light to convert to electricity. Technology to focus power directly back to Earth has already been studied and proven possible. This prototype could, once scaled up, revolutionize energy generation and distribution around the world. Experimental results point to this being a feasible option to receive energy in the future. Funded by the Pentagon, costs are always of a concern but prices to create the panels have been decreasing. The amount of people this could help in remote areas or during natural disasters is a large incentive to backing this project.

Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include Guaranteed SavingsTM, ManagedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM Index, Fixed and PriceAssuranceTM.

Realgy owns and operates 7 solar plants in Illinois and is looking to invest in additional locations.

Additional Information: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/23/americas/space-solar-energy-pentagon-science-scn-intl/index.html

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