Newsom urges federal probe into soaring natural gas prices

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Monday asking it to investigate wholesale natural gas prices in California and other western states.

In the letter to FERC chairman Willie Phillips, Newsom cites a sharp rise since late November that has pressured Californians.

“These wholesale natural gas price increases were exacerbated by early cold weather in western states,” Newsom wrote, “but these known factors cannot explain the magnitude and longevity of the price increase.”

In addition to impacts on consumers and businesses, the letter lists sectors that have been impacted by higher natural gas prices: industrial, agricultural, water and sanitation.

Newsom pointed to the joint meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission on Tuesday to examine the causes of the rate hike and possible protections for ratepayers.

The governor asked FERC to “focus its investigative resources on assessing whether market manipulation, anti-competitive behavior or other anomalous activity is driving these persistently high prices in Western gas markets.”

FERC regulates the interstate transmission and sale of electricity and natural gas. Spokesperson Mary O’Driscoll confirmed Monday that the agency had received the letter and planned to review it. Newsom urges federal probe into soaring natural gas prices

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