Piedmont Natural Gas is facing scrutiny for its pricing during a February 2021 winter storm that blanketed Nashville and surrounding areas with snow and ice.
In a November report submitted to the Tennessee Public Utility Commission, Tennessee Attorney General’s Office attorney Karen Stachowski wrote that Piedmont’s “February activity should be carefully scrutinized” and that another report “raises significant concerns” about Piedmont’s pricing behavior around the time of the storm.
“Piedmont’s actions during the February energy crisis led to higher gas costs, now requested to be recovered from its sales customers,” Stachowski concluded.
According to the report, Piedmont’s “gas procurement incentive mechanism” realized a gain of more than $8 million in February, which is “more than 100 times the typical monthly gain experienced during the July 2020 through June 2021 period.”
The AG’s office recommended that the public utility commission expand its review of Piedmont’s filings.
“The Commission should closely examine whether the February price spikes created an anomaly within the incentive calculation and whether natural gas customers truly received the claimed benefits during this period,” Stochowski wrote.
Piedmont, through parent company Duke Energy, declined to comment beyond its filings in the case record. In a late December response letter, a Piedmont official said that the natural gas company “disagrees with the substance of the Consumer Advocate’s allegations and disputes that customers were harmed or that Piedmont behaved improperly with regard to the operation of its tariffs or procurement of gas supply during this period."