Rulings have been issued in the legal battle between the City of Brenham and its gas provider over natural gas prices during Winter Storm Uri.

Winter Storm Uri blanketed downtown Brenham in snow and caused power and water outages for residents across the state. (Mark Whitehead)

On Thursday, 335th District Court Judge Reva Towslee-Corbett signed an order denying Brenham’s motion for partial summary judgment regarding WTG Gas Marketing’s counterclaims against the city.  Corbett ordered that WTG’s motion for continuance of its cross-motion for partial summary judgment in response to the city’s motion also be denied.

WTG’s counterclaims allege that the city violated an emergency order from the Railroad Commission of Texas by “excessive amounts of gas” to the city’s industrial customers at the company’s expense.

The order stated that natural gas transportation, delivery or sales should be reduced unless serving human needs customers.  WTG argues the city served industrial users before all human needs customers, thereby breaching its gas sales contract with the company.

In WTG’s motion for continuance, it says the terms and conditions of its gas sales contract with Brenham were modified by the Railroad Commission’s emergency order, and that a violation of the order amounts to breach of contract.  As a result of the alleged breach, WTG says Brenham must pay for the volumes of gas based on what WTG paid.

In Brenham’s response to WTG’s motion for continuance, the city argues the Railroad Commission’s emergency order does not apply to Brenham as a municipality, only to gas utilities.  It further says the Railroad Commission has no jurisdiction over municipalities and that the city’s gas contract does not subject Brenham to the Railroad Commission’s jurisdiction.

KWHI has reached out to the office of Judge Towslee-Corbett and to the City of Brenham for clarification on the rulings and what they mean for the case.

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