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ONEOK SEEKS UTILITY RATE INCREASE

 ONEOK SEEKS UTILITY RATE INCREASE
 TULSA, Okla., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- ONEOK Inc.'s (NYSE: OKE)


utility, Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, filed today with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission a request for a $63.3 million rate increase.
 Cited as the main factors behind the need for an increase were the higher cost of doing business since the utility's rate decrease more than four years ago in 1987 and an additional investment of $170 million -- for a total of $860 million -- in the plant, property and equipment necessary to serve customers.
 "We've seen a steady decline in utility earnings over the last several years," said Oklahoma Natural Gas Company President Elmer H. Kamphaus. "Increased competition from other natural gas pipeline companies and natural gas brokers has caused lower margins to some of our large industrial customers. Keeping large-volume customers on our pipelines has helped to keep rates at the lowest possible level for residential and other small-volume customers by spreading fixed costs over greater total volumes of gas."
 Utilities in Oklahoma are required by the Corporation Commission to undergo rate reviews at least every five years. Oklahoma Natural's last rate review was in 1987 when a $2 million rate reduction was implemented. The last rate increase was approved for Oklahoma Natural six years ago in 1985.
 Kamphaus said the utility is asking the Commission to grant one- half, or $31.7 million, of the increase immediately as an interim increase subject to refund with interest to customers if the commission ultimately determines that the requested amount is inappropriate. Kamphaus said the interim increase hearing is set for Jan. 14, 1992. The final increase may not be until mid-1992 after the commission competes its audit and holds evidentiary hearings.
 Oklahoma Natural's actual return on common equity for the test year, ended Aug. 31, 1991, was 6 percent and will decline further -- to about 4 percent -- after year-end costs and adjustments are taken into account. In its filing, the utility is seeking a 13.75 percent return on common equity. Although the utility is currently allowed to earn 13.5 percent on equity under the 1987 rate order, its actual earnings have consistently fallen short of that mark.
 The total $63.3 million requested would be a 12.03 percent increase in revenues. Such an increase would result in a 9.969 percent return on rate base and a 6.448 percent return on the "fair value" of those items included in the rate base.
 ONEOK is a diversified energy company engaged in natural gas transmission and distribution, oil and gas exploration and production, contract drilling and natural gas processing.
 ONEOK has outstanding 26.6 million shares of common stock.
 -0- 12/6/91
 /CONTACT: Walt Radmilovich or Weldon Watson of ONEOK, 918-588-7000/
 (OKE) CO: ONEOK Inc. ST: Oklahoma IN: UTI SU:


CK -- NY065 -- 0254 12/06/91 16:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 6, 1991
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