State regulators OK $9.5 million ONG rate hike
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Oklahoma Natural Gas residential customers will pay nearly $1 more in monthly service charges under a $9.5 million rate increase approved Thursday by the state’s Corporation Commission.
The commissioners approved a settlement reached earlier by ONG, business watchdog group Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers, the state Attorney General’s Office and Corporation Commission’s public utility division staff. The utility originally asked for a $16.2 million hike.
“The agreement attempts to minimize the impact on consumers, yet ensure safe, reliable, affordable service by ONG,” Commission Chairman Dana Murphy said in a statement. “While the settlement results in bringing rates to various customer classes more in line with the actual cost to serve them, it still protects low income customers, who will experience no rate increase.”
The average residential customer will pay an additional 96 cents per month, while small commercial accounts go up 16 cents. Service charges for large industrial customers will go down 85 cents per month.
Oklahoma Natural Gas sent its customers a letter earlier this summer indicating that the rate increase would be offset by lower natural gas prices and the elimination of riders used under the old bill structure. In fact, ONG’s letter read, overall bills would fall $105 per customer compared to 2010.
The utility estimated that it has invested $93.9 million on infrastructure since the last recent case.