The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) announced that it has launched an investigation into the performance of Atmos Energy, Mid-Tex Division’s gas distribution system, due to a loss of service in late December.
The loss of service coincided with the extreme arctic conditions that arrived in the state as part of a weather system dubbed Winter Storm Elliott. The storm brought arctic conditions, sub-freezing temperatures, and hard freezes to the region, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.
This investigation comes at the request of Governor Greg Abbott, via a letter to Christi Craddick, chairman of the RRC.
“Because we are just beginning the winter season, and because customers of Atmos deserve to have reliable natural gas service during this winter, there is an urgency to have the RRC investigation concluded in a matter of weeks,” Governor Abbott wrote in the letter.
Abbott admonished the organization, acknowledging reports of Texans losing access to service and being unable to contact representatives from the company, describing these disruptions as “unacceptable.”
Atmos reported low pressure as the reason customers in parts of Texas experienced gas service issues at their homes on December 23. The agency reported that pressure had returned to normal throughout its system on the afternoon of December 24.
The RRC issued a request to Atmos Energy to provide a full account of the details of why the service was disrupted, including a detailed account of the number and location of customers whose service was negatively impacted, explanations of the cause of the low pressure, the status of pipeline and system capacity, and a plan to address and account for future issues.
Commissioner Craddick said that her team has already met with Atmos and is committed to providing answers to those affected.
Atmos released a statement to Fox 4 News on December 29 apologizing to customers who had experienced disruptions.
“Last week, we fell short for some of our customers who experienced interruptions in their natural gas service. That is not acceptable. And though we worked to restore service as quickly and safely as possible, we apologize for that service disruption,” the company said in the statement.
Natural gas service is not the only service that had disruptions during the inclement arctic conditions.
Despite the Texas power grid holding overall, many Texans did find themselves without power. Oncor Electric Delivery Company’s outage map showed 708 outages across Texas that affected over 18,000 people.
The RRC’s investigation of Atmos is ongoing, and the reasons for the loss in pressure are presently unknown.