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). The agreement 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 attorney general maintains a larger rate reduction may
be in order.
Edmondson filed his appeal last 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. He also said 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 (see NGI May 31).
The stipulation agreement Edmondson 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 Edmondson 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 attorney general's challenge on procedural grounds
on the basis the OCC order is not a final order.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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