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OCC, ONEOK Come to Terms on Rates

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.

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