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Regulators approve rate increase for Oklahoma Natural Gas
Oklahoma regulators approved a $9.5 million rate increase for Oklahoma Natural Gas that will add about $1 a month to the average residential customer's bill.
Most Oklahoma Natural Gas customers will see higher monthly service charges on their bills under a $9.5 million rate increase approved Thursday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Commissioners voted 2-0 to approve the rate hike, with Commissioner Bob Anthony absent.
ONG had asked for a rate hike of $16.2 million but worked out a lower settlement with commission staff, the attorney general's office and a group of industrial consumers.
The rate increase means residential customers will pay 96 cents more each month, or almost $12 per year, on the service charge portion of their bills. Customers who qualify for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program won't see any changes in their monthly service charges.
ONG said it spent about $93 million on infrastructure improvements in the past year. The amount includes about $40 million on automated meter readers that allow ONG employees to remotely read gas meters from the street. The utility spent an additional $10 million to comply with new federal pipeline safety inspections.
Commissioner Patrice Douglas said the settlement was fair to the utility and consumers. Because the company stopped several “riders” for unanticipated costs, she said most ONG residential customers have seen their service charges decline by $105, or almost $9 per month, since 2010.
“We still have a significant net gain for customers in the ONG area,” Douglas said. “It's also important to note how widespread the improvements were. I would be remiss if I didn't note that some of this increase was due to federal mandates.”
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