(In April 26 story, fixes typo in fifth paragraph)
April 26 (Reuters) - Oil and gas supplier Enterprise Products Partners on Monday sued CPS Energy, a Texas gas and power utility, alleging failure to pay nearly $100 million for natural gas delivered during the state’s February winter storm.
The lawsuit is the latest to emerge from a severe cold snap that drove prices and demand for natural gas and electricity to hundreds of times their pre-storm levels. Houston gas prices bit.ly/3noiRVL hit $400 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) from about $4.50/mmBtu a week earlier.
Enterprise is suing San Antonio municipal utility CPS Energy over payment disputes for sales during the freeze. The suit, filed in a state court in Harris County, Texas, claims CPS owes $99.7 million for gas after paying $36.5 million towards the month’s fuel bill.
“CPS Energy is now engaging in a coordinated plan to avoid paying its bills,” the lawsuit claimed, adding the utility has offered it $38.83/mmBtu for the gas.
CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams said Enterprise had engaged in “egregious price gouging” and that the lawsuit came after it had tried to negotiate the dispute.
“CPS Energy is committed to protecting its customers from unconscionable prices charged by certain natural gas suppliers,” Gold-Williams said.
A spokesman for Enterprise declined to comment, saying it would let the lawsuit speak for itself.
CPS Energy, owned by the city of San Antonio, previously sued grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas seeking to block it from issuing a default for unpaid power charges.
Enterprise next month is expected to report first-quarter earnings that analysts say will benefit from the storm-driven gas price run-up. Kinder Morgan last week reported a roughly $1 billion boost to earnings from selling high-priced natural gas to utilities.
Enterprise could post an around $475 million profit from the storm in its coming report, analysts from consultancy East Daley Capital said in a note last week. (Reporting by Liz Hampton; editing by Barbara Lewis and Richard Pullin)