Supplier charged lead plaintiff Certified Roses more than $233,000 for 12 days
HOUSTON – An award-winning, historic Texas business has filed a proposed nationwide class action lawsuit against Houston-based Symmetry Energy Solutions, alleging unlawful price gouging of customers for natural gas during February’s statewide winter storm.
The lawsuit brought by Certified Roses Inc., a Tyler-based producer and wholesaler of garden roses, states that Symmetry’s invoice for the month exceeded $248,000, with a line item of more than $233,000 for “incremental supply costs” incurred between February 10 and February 22.
Certified Roses, established in 1949, has annually renewed an index-based price contract with Symmetry since 2015. The lawsuit alleges the contracts do not mention nor define the possibility of such line item costs, and does not explain the extent of any associated risks of a price calculation based on Inside FERC’s Gas Market Report.
According to the filing in federal court, Symmetry “did not have an adequate amount of natural gas on hand, so, to meet its customers’ needs, it secured gas, but incurred penalties associated with curtailment.” The lawsuit claims that Symmetry bypassed its contractual obligations, and took advantage of its customers during a vulnerable time by attempting to pass on excessive costs and charges to its customers.
The filing, which alleges breach of contract, misrepresentation, negligence and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, requests the certification of a nationwide class. Symmetry is believed to have more than 100,000 residential and commercial customers across 30 states.
“Only Symmetry knows how its actions in Texas affected other customers, and the extent to which these excessive costs were further spread across the state of Texas and the rest of the country,” says Derek Potts of the Potts Law Firm in Houston, who represents Certified Roses. “This lawsuit seeks to reverse the charges and obtain additional compensation for the individuals and businesses who have received these excessive billings.”
Potts Law Firm is also leading the class action lawsuit against Griddy Energy for similar price gouging during winter storm Uri involving electricity. Griddy Energy has recently filed bankruptcy.
The lawsuit is Certified Roses Inc. v. Symmetry Energy Solutions LLC, No. 2:21-cv-00133, filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.