Emma O’Brien
November 1, 2022


Topeka Capital-Journal: “More than a year after Attorney General Derek Schmidt said natural gas price spikes appeared illegal during a winter storm 20 months ago, consumers are footing the bill for alleged price gouging as an investigation continues.” 

Topeka, KS – As Kansans start to pay back natural gas bills and are worried about rising costs, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has failed to make any progress into the price gouging from the February 2021 cold snap that increased the cost by nearly 200 times the normal amount.

“Derek Schmidt has had nearly two years to investigate the February 2021 cold snap that left Kansas businesses, schools, and even entire towns across the state on the brink of bankruptcy, yet still has no answers,” said Emma O’Brien, spokesperson for the KDP. “As Schmidt winds down his time as Attorney General, the investigation – and where Kansans’ bills stand – remains unknown. Kansans need an advocate in both the Governor’s office and the office of the Attorney General, and Derek Schmidt has proven he’s not up for either job.”

While Schmidt has failed to move this investigation forward, a report revealed that he owns and profits from a natural gas well on his property in Labette County – a clear conflict of interest as he oversees the investigation into the same industry. In nearly two years, Schmidt has done nothing to protect Kansans from oncoming crushing costs caused by the price gouging, and Kansans have already started to see an increase of several dollars on their monthly utility bills.

Meanwhile, Governor Kelly sprang into action, calling on Attorney General Derek Schmidt to launch an investigation into the increased costs of natural gas immediately. She helped Kansans by declaring a State of Emergency, and expanded Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) funds to keep Kansans safe during the cold snap, and spearheaded and fast-tracked a bill in 24-hours to keep cities from going bankrupt during the natural gas price gouging crisis.

Read more about Schmidt’s failure to investigate the natural gas price gouging crisis here, or key quotes below: 

  • “A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said the investigation is ongoing, and there are no updates to share.”
  • “With the second winter approaching since Winter Storm Uri, it appears a new attorney general will take over the investigation as the role of the top consumer protection authority in the state.”
  • Democratic nominee for Attorney General Chris Mann: “I mean, Derek Schmidt said there’s an investigation. I think it needs to be transparent, and I think that the public needs to know the outcome of that.”
  • “Winter Storm Uri, which Gov. Laura Kelly declared a disaster, triggering price gouging laws. The investigation is into whether price gouging occurred among utilities, marketers, brokers and suppliers when natural gas prices soared 24,418%.”