Arizona Utilities Tell Corporation Commission Natural Gas Supply Is Secure

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2021 - 3:23pm

The Arizona Corporation Commission addressed the impact of severe winter weather in Texas on gas supplies in Arizona on Thursday. 

Randy Gabe, vice president of gas resources for Southwest Gas, told the commission Arizona is primarily served by the El Paso Pipeline, which receives gas from the Permian Basin in West Texas and the San Juan Basin in New Mexico.

Gabe said while Southwest Gas has been able to meet demand in Arizona, gas prices briefly spiked to record levels.

“Daily prices reached an unprecedented $350 a decatherm," he said.  "To put that in perspective, gas is usually $3 to $5 a decatherm, so it's a hundred times increase in supply cost.”

Gabe said while those prices are returning to normal, Southwest Gas is asking customers to limit the use of natural gas.

Spokespeople for APS and Tucson Electric Power also told the commission they would be able to meet customer demands without interruption.

Commissioner Sandra Kennedy expressed concerns the utility companies were downplaying the situation.

“This should be a huge red flag for us," she said. "We need to be figuring out what we’re going to do whether it is five days from now or whether it is a month from now.”

Kennedy said it was possible the utilities would try and recoup the gas price increase from consumers by increasing rates, and she is calling for monthly instead of seasonal discussions on the state’s energy supplies.

In response to the gas price increases, the city of Mesa announced on Thursday that it is asking its natural gas customers to conserve its use for the next several days.

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