Roy Blunt (natural gas)

In this Sept. 16 photo, Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on a ‘Review of Coronavirus Response Efforts’ on Capitol Hill, in Washington.

After rolling blackouts impacted much of the region, some of Missouri’s federal legislators are asking a regulatory agency to investigate if a shortage of natural gas contributed to the problem.

The legislators, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., also asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate just how much natural gas still is available in Missouri. Widespread price hikes of natural gas have been reported.

“Our offices have also received information suggesting that limited supplies of natural gas are also exacerbating the situation and are forcing utility providers to find alternative sources of energy during this time of emergency in an effort to provide reliable sources of power to residents and customers to heat their homes and keep businesses from operating or manufacturing,” the members wrote in a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We respectfully request FERC to expeditiously review the circumstances of this situation as it relates to natural gas supplies, the rates of interstate transmission of natural gas, and take the necessary steps needed to address this crisis.”

The letter did have bipartisan support with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., signing on. Blunt lead the effort, according to his office.

Over four days recently, starting from Feb. 13, the town of Macon, Missouri, spent $1.8 million paying for natural gas, the total amount the city had budgeted for natural gas for the entire year. Spire, a gas company that services Northwest Missouri, has warned customers could see higher natural gas bills.

Officials with Evergy, an electric company, and other electric cooperatives previously told News-Press NOW natural gas prices contributed to rolling blackouts felt across much of the region. As weather conditions deteriorated, some natural gas plants were taken offline and other companies struggled to obtain more natural gas to offset power generation lost from other products.

“On behalf of our constituents, including residents, farmers and businesses in Missouri, we write today to raise a dire situation relating to natural gas shortages in Missouri and across the Midwest as the increase in energy demand continues to strain the electric grid,” the members wrote in their letter. “In light of these challenges, we need to ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable energy and natural gas for families, farmers and businesses in Missouri and the Midwest.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Matt Hoffmann can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.