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San Antonio's CPS Energy sues BP, Chevron and other natural gas suppliers over winter storm prices

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Millions of Texans went without power last month as the state's electrical grid buckled under the strain from the prolonged cold front. - SANFORD NOWLIN
  • Sanford Nowlin
  • Millions of Texans went without power last month as the state's electrical grid buckled under the strain from the prolonged cold front.
CPS Energy has sued at least nine natural-gas suppliers, including giants BP Energy and Chevron, alleging they charged excessive rates as it struggled to keep the power on during February's winter storm.

The suits, filed Monday in Bexar County District Court, allege the suppliers overcharged the city-owned utility tens of millions of dollars, imposing "commercially unreasonable, unconscionable and unlawful prices" during the catastrophic freeze.

BP's prices, for example, swung upward by 6,729% during the storm, CPS argues in its filing against that company.

The flurry of suits is an effort by CPS to slash the $1 billion in charges it incurred last month as it fought to keep customers' lights and heat working as the state's power grid teetered on the brink of collapse.

CPS says its owes $670 million to natural-gas suppliers plus an additional $350 million for electricity purchased from the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The utility sued ERCOT earlier this month, alleging it charged “excessive, illegitimate and illegal prices.”

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