ONG ordered to produce records on gas charges

Wednesday, April 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday ordered affiliates of Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. to provide records that show whether they charged other customers less for gas than ONG customers paid.

In voting 2-1 for the order, commissioners said the information is needed to determine whether ONG used least-cost procurement practices to obtain gas that was passed through to ONG customers.

Roger Mitchell, spokesman for ONEOK Inc., the parent of ONG, said the company was considering several options, including appealing the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

``Why would you need anything other than the information that was pertinent to the contractual agreement with Oklahoma Natural Gas?'' Mitchell said.

The issue stems from last winter's high natural gas prices. ONG bought gas from sister companies owned by ONEOK. Regulators want to know at what prices those affiliates sold gas to other companies.

Eric King, attorney for ONEOK Energy Marketing and Trading, said letting Corporation Commission auditors look at the company's confidential and proprietary data would have a chilling effect on their third-party customers.

He urged the commission to consider the obligations of unregulated affiliates to a public utility whose gas procurement practices are being reviewed.

``I suggest and submit that the commission must carefully determine the proper scope of affiliate rights and duties,'' King said.