OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Oklahoma Natural Gas customers could soon see even higher bills. The utility company is seeking yet another rate hike. This will be on top of last year’s approved rate hike and a monthly cost for the 2021 historic Winter Storm.
Sabra Tucker said she was shocked when she heard the news of another possible rate increase with ONG.
“My immediate reaction was, ‘are you kidding me?’” said Tucker. “I just thought here we go again.”
Tucker, a rate payer and advocate for retirees, said she knows firsthand how hard small increases in monthly bills can have a big impact on someone with a fixed income.
“The less disposable income you have at your discretion to pay for things that you absolutely have to have, food, clothing, shelter, utilities are something that we’ve all become accustomed to,” said Tucker.
ONG filed the request with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to approve the rate hike. It first will go before the Commission Administrative Law Judge, who will hear sworn testimony, including cross examination and evidence submitted in the case both for and against. The judge will then make a recommendation on the matter to the Commissioners.
The Commission approved an ONG rate hike last November of more than $19 million for what ONG called “recovery costs from infrastructure investments.” That hike added around $2 a month to customer’s bills. The latest rate increase request is for more than $27.6 million. Again, ONG said the increase would go toward recovery of “infrastructure investments” and “business costs.” It would add around another $2 tacked to customer’s bills. Combine those two increases on top of monthly charges of around $10 to recoup costs during the 2021 Winter Storm, and customers could pay around $14 more a month.
The Performance Based Rate (PBR) filing is an annual process where Oklahoma Natural Gas identifies the investments made in infrastructure and operating expenses that ensure continued safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to our customers. Investments in 2022 were primarily for replacing aging pipeline infrastructure, responding to new customer requests, securing and placing natural gas in storage to help minimize price spikes for our customers and increased operating expenses and taxes, due to inflation.
We filed this year’s PBR on March 1 for consideration by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. This year, if approved, customers will see a small increase. For an average residential customer, the monthly service charge impact will be an increase of $1.55, or approximately 2.4%.
For an average low-income (LIHEAP) residential customer, the monthly impact will be $0.38, or approximately a 1% increase.
This change is anticipated to go into effect no earlier than June 29, pending approval by the OCC.
We understand that higher prices for everything, from the grocery store to everyday items, come at a difficult time for our customers. That’s why we’re here to help any customer who needs assistance. We have payment plans and a resource page on our website at www.oklahomanaturalgas.com/Cares where customers can find financial assistance agencies. Customers can also take advantage of energy efficiency rebates by visiting www.oklahomanaturalgas.com/save-money.ONG Statement sent to KFOR
Public comments on the proposed rate increase will be heard June 15th at 9:30 a.m. in the Concourse Theatre, Suite C50. That’s in the Will Rogers Building at 2401 North Lincoln Blvd in Oklahoma City. The Corporation Commission said anyone can submit public comment at any time by sending those to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or at this physical address:
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
Public Utility Division
2101 North Lincoln Blvd Oklahoma City, OK 73105