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Oklahoma Attorney General Sues Enable and Symmetry Over Winter Storm Uri Natural Gas Price Hikes

4/11/2024

By Mary Holcomb, Digital Editor

(P&GJ) — Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has filed litigation against Enable Midstream Partners (Enable) entities and Symmetry Energy Solutions LLC, accusing them of artificially inflating natural gas prices in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. The legal action targets Enable’s various subsidiaries, including ET Gathering & Processing, Enable Oklahoma Intrastate Transmission, Enable Gas Transmission, and Enable Energy Resources. 

During the winter storm in 2021, Enable and Symmetry operated intrastate natural gas pipelines and marketed natural gas across Oklahoma. Among their clientele was the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), the state’s largest public power utility.

Unlike federal regulations prohibiting interstate pipeline operators from owning the commodities they transport and sell, no such restrictions exist for intrastate pipelines in Oklahoma. According to the lawsuit, this regulatory gap leaves the state susceptible to market manipulation and anti-competitive behavior.

The litigation alleges that Enable and Symmetry employed various tactics to drive up natural gas index prices, including reducing supply and submitting trades at unconscionable price levels. These actions purportedly led to exorbitant fees charged to GRDA, dictated by artificially inflated index prices. 

Attorney General Drummond stated that his office would pursue additional legal action against other companies believed to have engaged in market manipulation during Winter Storm Uri.

The lawsuits claim that Enable and Symmetry reaped billions of dollars in extra profit from their alleged wrongful conduct and the resulting surge in prices during the storm.

Winter Storm Uri, which struck Oklahoma in mid-February 2021, caused widespread devastation, resulting in hundreds of deaths and over $200 billion in damages across the southern United States. The storm also prompted a desperate need for additional natural gas.

The legal action seeks redress for various violations, including those of the Oklahoma Antitrust Reform Act, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, constructive fraud, bad faith breach of contract, civil conspiracy, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Drummond emphasized the importance of holding bad actors accountable for their actions during times of crisis, stating that fraudulent practices during Winter Storm Uri had caused significant harm to Oklahomans.

The lawsuits were filed in Osage County District Court.

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