Symmetry Energy Solutions Provides Information on Winter Storm Uri and February 2021 Billing Cycle
As a retail natural gas marketer, Symmetry’s role is between suppliers and our end-user customers. Symmetry incurs supply costs largely at the time of purchases made to supply its customers and passes these costs on to customers in accordance with its contracts and rate agreements. This means that Symmetry does not produce gas and it does not set market prices; the price of natural gas is set by the market.
On February 12th Symmetry issued a communication notifying its customers that the severe weather from what is now known as Winter Storm Uri was expected to cause significant supply disruption and substantial increases in market prices in many markets, including those served by Symmetry. Symmetry encouraged customers to speak with their Symmetry representative and also to mitigate their consumption of gas during this period. As Symmetry noted in its communication, customers who continued to consume gas in these markets would be exposed to the extremely high cost of natural gas and possible pipeline/LDC penalties, with a result that invoices could be appreciably higher than normal. Symmetry received numerous force majeure notices from gas producers and other suppliers who were unable to deliver gas because of freeze offs caused by the severe weather, which it appropriately passed onto customers.
Throughout the volatile and supply constrained period, Symmetry worked tirelessly to secure replacement gas wherever possible to keep natural gas flowing and meet the needs of our customers in real-time. As a part of our commitment to transparency and keeping our customers informed, we also provided active and ongoing communication related to notices we received that would impact customers and we continue to work closely with our customers as they receive invoices for the gas supplied during this event, which we recognize are in many cases significantly higher than normal for the reasons described.
Why were natural gas prices so high during the February billing cycle?
As a result of Winter storm Uri between February 12th and February 21st, 2021, and the extended period of extremely low temperatures, physical gas and power infrastructure was severely impaired. Specifically, well-head freeze-offs occurred, and gas processing plants and pipelines failed. This resulted in reduced natural gas supply and limited the ability to distribute and deliver natural gas on the system. At the same time, demand for natural gas was much higher than normal due to increased heating demand during the extremely cold weather.
This considerable increase in demand, coupled with a severe reduction in supply, resulted in extremely high natural gas prices in almost every market Symmetry serves. Importantly, this was a market-wide event and virtually all industry participants were impacted – not just Symmetry.
As a retail natural gas marketer, Symmetry’s role is between suppliers of gas on one hand, and our end-user customers on the other. Symmetry does not produce gas and it does not set market prices.
Is this a case of Symmetry failing to supply its customers?
No. During the February weather event Symmetry received numerous force majeure notices and supply cuts from gas producers and other suppliers who were unable to deliver gas because of freeze offs caused by the severe weather, which it appropriately passed onto customers. Despite this, Symmetry continued to play a critical role in the distribution of natural gas and throughout the volatile and supply constrained period, Symmetry worked tirelessly to secure replacement gas, wherever possible, to keep natural gas flowing and to meet the needs of our customers in real-time.
Is Symmetry offering any relief for customers who are experiencing these higher charges?
Symmetry has been, and is, in regular communication with customers regarding natural gas pricing as a result of the severe weather and will continue to work with the industry and with our customers.
As always, customers that have questions about their invoice should please reach out to customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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