Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Approves Rate Increase for ONG

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Approves Rate Increase for ONG

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Rates for average residential customers of Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. will rise about 60 cents per month due to a final rate order approved Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The Corporation Commission _ by a vote of 2-1 _ approved a $23.7 million rate increase for Oklahoma Natural, the natural gas distribution division of Tulsa-based Oneok Inc. The increase is $5.5 million more than the interim rate increase of $18.2 million granted in March 1992.

Commissioners J.C. Watts Jr. and Cody L. Graves voted for the increase. Commissioner Bob Anthony dissented on both the interim increase and the permanent increase approved Tuesday.

The higher rates will probably become effective in December, according to ONG spokesman Don Sherry. Revised tariffs have to be filed with the commission and approved before ONG can implement the rate increases, he said.

The commission staff has estimated that rates for the company's 649,000 residential customers will increase 1.58 percent and commercial customers will increase 0.77 percent. Customers on the company's low income rates, as authorized by the Department of Human Services, will not receive an increase, however.

Of the final $23.7 million rate increase, residential customers will be allocated 64.32 percent, or more than $15 million. Other customer classes and their allocation include: Commercial _ 26.94 percent. Industrial _ 5.73 percent. Wholesale _ 0.19 percent. Oil gas field _ 0.05 percent. Compressed natural gas _ a decrease of 0.01 percent. Pipeline capacity lease _ a decrease of 2.17 percent.

In addition, 4.97 percent of the total rate increase will come from miscellaneous charges.

Under the rate order, the company will for the first time implement a monthly customer service charge. For residential ONG customers, the charge will be $6.50; for customers on the company's low income rates, $3.25; for commercial customers, $12.60; for industrial customers, $20; and for schools and hospitals, $12.50.

"The customer charge allows us to recover costs of meter reading, issuing bills, and fixed investments. This charge will benefit our customers by enabling us to reduce our rates in the winter months when bills are highest," said Barry Epperson, vice president of accounting. …

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