Corporation commission says 'No' to rate hike request

Monday, April 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. will not be adding a $5.50 temporary surcharge to all its customers' bills, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission decided Monday.

On a 2-to-1 vote, the commission denied the company's plans for a surcharge from April until October, which was intended to help the company get back $63 million in unrecovered gas costs from last winter.

While ONG said the surcharge would allow it to collect its lost money by October, the plan approved by the commission Monday would allow ONG to recover its costs by December.

The commission made the company charge customers less than it was paying for gas in February and March in order to blunt high natural gas bills that were result of a spike in the price of natural gas.

The matter of what the company will be able to charge for its gas in April won't be answered until Monday afternoon when new fuel numbers were to be released, Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said.

ONG is pushing for a 51-cent increase in the price of a dekatherm _ or 1,000 cubic feet _ of gas. The commission said it will base the price on the same formula it has been using to calculate the cost of gas, which in March was $6.58 per dekatherm.

ONG makes no profit off its gas charge, which reflects the price its pays for its gas. ONG only profits from the money it charges to transmit the gas, which hasn't increased since 1995.

In March, ONG customers paid an average bill of $116.89. In January, the average bill was at $196.63.