Midwest Cold Weather & Energy Volatility
Your source for energy-related updates, information and tips as record low temperatures impact the Central Region.
Important Customer Notice
Updated February 25, 2021
The extreme cold weather and market volatility over the past week wreaked havoc across the Midwest region. Always committed to providing reliable service to our customers, we worked hard to maintain surety of our gas supply, maximize operational efficiencies and maintain full operations through the crisis.
Thank you for your partnership as we worked together to minimize the impact to your operations.
We will continue to monitor the news and add relevant articles and resources to keep you informed.
Vicinity is Here For You
Our systems and equipment have redundancies in place to ensure uninterrupted service during the toughest of climate events. We want to assure you that we are:
- Carefully monitoring and controlling our natural gas usage while still providing reliable, uninterrupted service to our customers
- Working to secure the lowest price possible for our customers
- Ensuring that our customers receive the latest information in real-time and offering tips to minimize energy use, without risk to people or equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
What happened and why?
The Polar Vortex anomaly brought winter storms and arctic air to the Midwest region, causing significant increases in gas use. Gas suppliers have stated that the extended cold temperatures caused suppliers’ natural gas wells to freeze, damage to pumps and compressors (which provide the gas to the pipelines), power plant start up issues, and wind and solar failures. Suppliers have indicated that all of these issues contributed to curtailments and shut offs of gas and electric supplies in the region, declared states of emergencies, and extraordinary gas price spikes of up to 30,000%.
Did this weather affect my steam service?
How is my bill calculated?
Vicinity customers have two components to their charges: a capacity charge and an energy charge. The unit price of natural gas is a pass-through in the energy component of the bill. More specifically, most energy charges are calculated using the amount of steam consumed during the month, the base unit steam price, and an adjustment for gas price and inflation.
What is Vicinity doing to reduce the financial impact?
How to Curtail Energy Use
Follow these tips to help minimize energy use and reduce the impact of gas price increases
Lower your thermostat settings to at least 65-degrees when buildings are occupied
Control Natural Light
The latest energy-related news and information from Oklahoma and Missouri.
FERC to Examine Potential Wrongdoing in Markets During Recent Cold Snap
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.
February 2021 polar vortex sends Texas natural gas markets spinning
Senator Seeks Probe of Natural Gas Price Spikes During Storm
Recap: Gov. Stitt addresses Oklahoma winter storm utility bills Monday
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. said Sunday it’s likely the recent frigid weather will cost customers more in terms of higher utility bills.
“It’s too early to estimate how customer use and higher fuel costs will affect utility bills” the Oklahoma City-based utility said in a statement issued Sunday. “As a regulated utility, OG&E will work with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to determine a path forward.”
Gov. Kevin Stitt requests Oklahoma emergency declaration from federal government
Texas-size concern: Stitt, regulators work to keep Oklahoma utility bills from spiking
And no one should be surprised. As temperatures plummeted, energy needs spiked.
But state leaders offered assurances to worried consumers Monday most won’t see Texas-size amounts when they open those bills.
President Joseph R. Biden Approves Emergency Declaration for Oklahoma
Commission issues emergency order for state utilities
Order directs utilities to prioritize natural gas and electric services to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the public
PSC Opens Case to Investigate February 2021 Cold Weather Event
Blunt leads Missouri delegation letter urging FERC to review and address natural gas supply issues.
Parson, members of Missouri congressional delegation raise concerns about natural gas supplies, price gouging
“Given the extremely cold temperatures, I understand there have been some supply issues,” Parson said. “However we will not tolerate any effort to price gouge or take advantage of customers at a time when there is no other choice or alternative options.”
Gov. Parson warns natural gas companies to not price gouge Missourians
The governor is warning natural gas companies to not take advantage of Missourians during this arctic blast. Parson is asking the attorney general to get involved because he’s concerned about companies’ price gouging.
Missouri legislators ask Feds to probe natural gas prices
The legislators, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., also asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate just how much natural gas still is available in Missouri. Widespread price hikes of natural gas have been reported.
Parson wants to probe for natural gas price gouging before aiding Missouri towns
“I don’t want people to be taken advantage of,” Parson said during his weekly press briefing. “Just because we’re finding a way to pay some corporation money that’s making millions and millions of dollars off a natural disaster, I want to make sure that’s not happening.”
We’re Here to Help
Please contact your local team if you have questions or need support