Sen. Marshall Presses Officials on Kansas Energy Issues During Deep Freeze

(Washington, D.C., March 11, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. pressed witnesses during a Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources hearing about the energy and financial issues that occurred during the deep freeze across Kansas last month. Senator Marshall requested the hearing in a letter to Chairman Joe Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso in February. Additionally, last month, Senator Marshall and Representative Sharice Davids urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to investigate the cause of system failures during the February cold snap and determine if any wrongdoing caused Kansans’ energy bills to skyrocket. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall question the officials.

“I am here with the weight of three million Kansans who are waking up to utility bills which are just through the roof. I have the weight of a hundred different municipalities who are buying natural gas on the spot market, municipalities who in three days’ time spent more than they were planning on spending in the next five years. The questions I am going to ask you are questions I have been asked dozens of times that I don’t have answers to yet,” said Senator Marshall.


The recent cold weather impacting much of the Midwest and eastern U.S. put extreme pressures on the nation’s natural gas and propane supply. Freezing conditions prevented new energy generation in many sectors, putting additional pressures on natural gas supplies for electrical generation. A sharp increase in demand causes natural gas prices to jump more than 100-percent of normal costs. As a result, natural gas and electrical rates paid by Kansas communities, businesses and homeowners reached record levels.  

Text of Senator Marshall’s letter requesting the hearing:

February 18, 2021

The Honorable Joe Manchin, Chairman
Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
304 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable John Barrasso, M.D., Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
304 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso,

For more than a week, Kansas has experienced record-breaking cold temperatures with ice and snow accumulating over much of the state. Temperatures have set new record-lows and multiple cities in Kansas have set new days-below-freezing records. Additionally, multiple states across the Great Plains and Midwest have also endured unseasonably cold temperatures and continued freezing conditions.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly issued a state disaster declaration and the Kansas Corporation Commission issued an emergency order directing utilities to do everything possible and necessary to ensure continued delivery of electricity, natural gas, and propane to Kansas customers. Kansas companies have seen their power cut and Kansans have experienced rolling blackouts.

I respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources hold a hearing to exam the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid in extreme weather events like the arctic blast. More specifically, I believe it is prudent to exam the affordability of electricity and natural gas when the system is stressed. The Midwest and Great Plains have seen cold weather before. Electricity generators and natural gas producers in the north consistently operate in extreme cold weather. The ultimate questions become, “Why weren’t we prepared?” and “What can we do to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Roger Marshall, M.D
United States Senator