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With public spaces closed throughout 2020, and demand for heat and electricity down, Dallas-based pipeline operator Energy Transfer saw revenues drop 28% to just under $39 billion; the business fell 22 spots on the Fortune 500 as a result. But shortly after the close of its 2020 fiscal year, the company, whose pipelines carry about a third of U.S. crude and natural gas, got a controversial boost: The winter storm that ground Texas to a halt in early 2021 led Energy Transfer to rake in an extra $2 billion. As much of the state of 29 million people went without gas and electricity, demand for supplies from the company’s storage facilities soared. That profit attracted a lawsuit from utility CPS Energy, arguing that prices for natural gas during the deadly storm were 15,000% higher than usual; tragedy shouldn’t be a “jackpot” for a business, the utility said. In a statement, Energy Transfer said it sold the gas to CPS Energy "at a fully negotiated and transparent price of which they were fully aware before receiving and consuming the gas."
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