Natural gas bills jumped $30 on average in past 7 years in Oklahoma


Just seven years ago, the average customer of the three natural gas operations in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas run by ONE Gas paid $46 a month. This year, it is $75, according to a December Investment Update released by the Tulsa-based company.

The average monthly residential customer bill, according to the Update, is projected to fall to $70 a month in the coming year. It had been up to $81 a month in 2022, after the impact of Winter Storm Uri in 2021. The storm’s impact wasn’t reflected on the monthly bills until 2022 arrived. In 2021, ONE Gas said the average bill was $58 a month before skyrocketing after the corporation’s three firms used financing methods to pay for historic high natural gas prices.

The monthly average includes ONE Gas’s 924,000 customers of Oklahoma Natural Gas in Oklahoma, 700,000 Texas Gas Service customers in Texas and 656,000 Kansas Gas Service customers in Kansas. Its largest natural gas distribution markets by customer count are Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka, Kansas; and Austin and El Paso, Texas.

ONE Gas reported it has an 88% market share in Oklahoma, 71% share in Kansas and 13% in Texas.

As for the future economic conditions affecting the company’s operations, ONE Gas stated in its 5-year financial guidance covering 2024-2028, “While natural gas prices have softened and materials inflation has moderated, wage inflation continues, and interest rates have moved sharply beyond their year-ago forecasts and are likely to remain higher for longer.”

ONE Gas also said the impactful shifts in financial conditions “accentuage the lag intrinsic to our 100% regulated business model.”

As some utilities have complained in recent public meetings before Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners and legislators, their requests for rate hikes often take several months or maybe a year before they might get approval.

Despite the lag, ONE Gas anticipates net income in the range of $214 to $231 million in 2024 and an earnings per share range of $3.70 to $4 per diluted share. It also anticipates dividend growth of 1% to 2%.

Source: Investment Update