OCC, ONEOK Come To Terms on Rates
Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) staff, ONEOK Inc. and its
subsidiaries Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) and Kansas Gas Service
(KGS) reached negotiated settlement of a number of interim issues
on rates, unbundling of assets and competitive bidding for gas
services. The stipulated agreement must still be approved by OCC
commissioners. Once that happens, it will hasten wholesale and then
retail unbundling in the state.
The agreement consolidates two ongoing rate cases and provides
for an interim rate reduction for Oklahoma customers of ONG and KGS
of $5 million on an annual basis effective with the first billing
cycle in September. A final order establishing permanent rates is
expected next spring.
In addition to the rate reduction for Oklahoma customers and a
timetable for the unbundling process, ONEOK agreed to dismiss its
Oklahoma Supreme Court appeal of the commission's unbundling orders
and rules after orders in the consolidated rate case become final.
The ONEOK challenge to the commission order has been the hold-up
delaying upstream unbundling.
Settlement terms call for new effective dates for ONG's
competitive bidding for gas supplies and transmission service
beginning Nov. 1, 1999 and November 1, 2000, respectively.
Also contained in the agreement are procedures and timetables
for setting permanent rates and the identification and designation
of ONEOK assets for gas transmission, distribution, gathering and
storage and the process as outlined under OCC rules for obtaining
the deregulation of gathering and storage assets.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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