OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Attorney General Gentner Drummond announced Tuesday that Oklahoma City law firm Foshee & Yaffe has been selected to represent the State of Oklahoma in possible legal action against fuel suppliers accused of gouging billions of dollars out of consumers during Winter Storm Uri.
“I was greatly impressed by the firm’s extensive experience and their demonstrated abilities to win favorable judgments on behalf of government clients,” Drummond said. “I look forward to working with them to hold accountable any bad actors and fight for Oklahoma ratepayers.”
In July, Drummond asked outside law firms to assist in Oklahoma’s fight to recoup costs after middle-market fuel suppliers allegedly used market manipulation and illegal conduct to make a profit off of the February 2021 winter storm.
Snow, ice, and brutal cold rocked Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas in February 2021. You’ll remember cranking up the thermostat to keep warm.
State Corporation Commissioner, Kim David, said Oklahoma utility companies had to buy that gas for us at outrageous prices from middle-marketers or suppliers.
“It was like over $1,200 dollar per unit when it should’ve been $3,” said Commissioner David. “$4 billion is what the total cost for Winter Storm Uri and what happened on the Market…It’s insane.”
Now, everyday Oklahomans will be paying for the next 20-something years to recoup the costs.
In March, Commissioner David asked Drummond to investigate the suppliers.
Drummond determined several entities reaped billions of dollars in profits by manipulating the price of natural gas.
“We do have entities such as natural gas marketers that appear, if you follow the data, it appears as though there was a short squeeze prior to Uri, in which the supply was restricted, when the demand was the greatest. Most of the companies that manipulated the marketing price are outside of Oklahoma and some international companies,” said the AG. “I can’t promise success, I can only promise my unabated, absolute commitment to the state of Oklahoma in pursuing this.”
Now, Alex Yaffe said the law firm is ready to get to work on holding those companies accountable.
“In response to Attorney General Drummond’s Request for Proposal, we have assembled a world-class team to take on this case,” he said. “We are pleased the Attorney General chose an Oklahoma legal team to solve Oklahoma’s problems. We are both humbled and excited to work alongside General Drummond to recover everything owed to Oklahomans because of the bad acts of these out of state, and mostly foreign, bad actors.”
Drummond noted that three firms responded to the request for proposals. In addition to the submission from Foshee & Yaffe, Ballard Spahr of Philadelphia and Paul LLP of Kansas City, Mo., also submitted proposals.
“These are three strong and impressive firms, and I appreciate the hard work that went into their proposals,” Drummond said. “I will continue insisting on an open and transparent process for any contingency fee matter.”
Drummond says neither Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry nor utility companies were responsible for the scheme.