OK Attorney General Challenges OCC-Oneok Deal
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is appealing the
Oklahoma Corporation Commission's (OCC) preliminary approval of a
stipulation agreement between the OCC and Oneok (parent of Oklahoma
Natural Gas) that consolidates two ongoing rate cases and provides
for an interim rate reduction for Oklahoma customers of ONG and
Kansas Gas Service of $5 million per year beginning in September.
The AG maintains a larger rate reduction may be in order.
Edmondson filed his appeal Monday in Oklahoma Supreme Court and
says he was denied due process and that approval of the agreement
was ambiguous and not supported by sufficient evidence and that the
commission lacks jurisdiction in the matter.
Edmondson has accused OCC Commissioner Denise Bode of ex parte
communications with ONG. However, Bode and the other two
commissioners maintain meetings with ONG were not inappropriate
because they took place in a legislative context, not a judicial
one, in which they would be ex parte (see Daily GPI May 31, 1999).
The stipulation agreement the AG is contesting sets a procedural
schedule for hearings, the topic of one of them being allocation of
Oneok assets among distribution, transmission, storage, and gas
gathering for the purpose of unbundling. Hearings are scheduled for
June 23 through 25, and the AG maintains that does not allow enough
time for his staff to review financial information and prepare
testimony. The OCC has filed a motion to dismiss the AG's challenge
on procedural grounds on the basis the OCC order is not a final
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