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Regulators examine Texas energy market after natural gas prices soared 10,000%

February 23, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 61.7%. 1 min read.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 21: The U.S. and Texas flags fly in front of high voltage transmission towers on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Millions of Texans lost power when winter storm Uri hit the state and knocked out coal, natural gas and nuclear plants that were unprepared for the freezing temperatures brought on by the storm. Wind turbines that provide an estimated 24 percent of energy to the state became inoperable when they froze. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Federal regulators are looking closely at the Texas energy market after natural gas prices rocketed during last week's deep freeze. And they're warning that extreme weather will continue to stress the power grid.

New York (CNN Business)Federal regulators are looking closely at the Texas energy market after natural gas prices rocketed during last week's deep freeze.

"We are monitoring irregularities in the Texas energy markets following last week's freeze," Rostin Behnam, acting chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in a speech Tuesday.

Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota wrote a letter to regulators Saturday urging them to investigate possible price gouging for natural gas.

Meanwhile the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced Monday it is investigating possible market manipulation in the natural gas and electricity sectors during last week's energy crisis.

The deep freeze caused chaos in the Texas energy system, derailing a wide variety of fuel sources, including natural gas, coal, nuclear and wind.

Although some politicians initially tried to blame frozen wind turbines, Energy Department officials said the power crisis was "largely driven" by coal, gas and nuclear sites going offline.

"This Arctic blast highlighted weakness in our energy infrastructure that will likely be challenged and stressed more often in the future as a result of more frequent extreme weather events," Behnam said.

FERC also said it will open a new investigation to examine the "threat that climate change and extreme weather events pose to electric reliability. "

"The effects of climate change are already apparent," FERC Chairman Richard Glick said Monday, "and we must do everything we can within our statutory authority to ensure that the electric grid is capable of keeping the lights on in the face of extreme weather. "

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