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Monthly service charge to rise for most Oklahoma Natural Gas customers
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will have final approval over a $9.5 million rate hike for ONG customers.
Most Oklahoma Natural Gas customers will pay more for monthly service charges under a $9.5 million settlement recommended Thursday by an Oklahoma Corporation Commission administrative law judge.
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The settlement now goes to the three-person regulatory panel for their final approval.
Residential ONG customers will see their monthly charges rise by 96 cents, or almost $12 per year. But separate reductions in the fuel-cost portion of customer bills from lower natural gas prices mean most customer bills will go down. Fuel costs are passed directly to customers and vary based on the price of the commodity.
“Those fuel rates are adjusted by statutory requirement, so those reductions would have happened with or without this rate case,” said Brandy Wreath, interim director of the commission's public utility division.
The rate increase will not affect low-income residential customers, whose monthly service charges will stay the same under the settlement. ONG has almost 15,700 customers in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
ONG in March asked for a $16.2 million increase in rates to help pay for $93 million in infrastructure improvements for pipeline safety and reliability. More than half of that money went to new meters that allow remote reading from the street. The company has installed remote meters to about 90 percent of its 829,000 customers.
ONG worked out a settlement for $9.5 million with commission staff, the attorney general's office and a group representing industrial consumers. Administrative Law Judge James L. Myles recommended adoption of the settlement.
“This is a testament to the investments we are continuing to make into our system to provide the clean, safe, reliable natural gas service that we do to our customers,” said Cherokee Ballard, ONG spokeswoman. “We appreciate the judge's ruling.”
Under the settlement, small commercial and industrial customers will see monthly service charges rise by 16 cents. Large commercial and industrial customers will see a decrease of 85 cents per month.
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