OCC Weighing Interim Rates for ONG
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) is deciding whether to
order interim rates, which could lead to a reduction for customers
of Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG), which would create what the LDC
calls "a rate case within a rate case."
Oklahoma's attorney general, OCC staff and others are
recommending interim rates take effect during an ongoing ONG rate
case. ONG contends the work required to develop interim rates would
only retard progress of the ongoing rate case, which also could
provide savings to customers. The issue of whether interim rates
should be considered is to go before two administrative law judges
following testimony from OCC staff, ONG reply, and staff rebuttal.
The ONG rate case was opened last year when OCC staff said
conditions at the utility had changed since its last rate case,
which ended in 1995, and a reexamination of rates was in order.
Last month, ONG asked the commission for a rate reduction in
conjunction with a proposal to sever some functions of the company
and make them deregulated. Attorney General Drew Edmondson and
others balked at that proposal. The AG said ONG ".seeks to
improperly expand and complicate this proceeding aimed at adjusting
rates to Oklahoma consumers, while collaterally attacking the
Commission's rulings in the recently completed upstream unbundling
ONG is currently challenging in state supreme court an OCC order
specifying upstream unbundling of its system, saying, among other
things, that it delves too deeply into management of the company.
Of interim rates, ONG spokesman Don Sherry said, "Fundamentally,
we don't think it's necessary. We would be looking at a situation
that fundamentally would be a rate case within a rate case." Of
last the company's proposal last month to combine rate reductions
with upstream unbundling he said, "We think it is a reasonable and
rational plan, and we would like to see it accomplished."
Joe Fisher, Houston
©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights
reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or
redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of
Intelligence Press, Inc.