(email questions/comments to wrightted@aol.com).
Ted Wright -- last update 7/28/2005 (8/4) (GasCitizensAgainst.html) www.cvilleok.com
Copyright 2005 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma
Paid Political Advertisement
David Chester -- Collinsville

Citizens for Reliable Gas Service

Citizens For Reliable Gas Service
Vote "NO" on August 9th
July-Aug 2005 -- Paid Advertisement
This web site is brought to you by the Newspaper Museum In Collinsville and the other advertisers appearing on these pages. If you would like to provide content or advertisements ...
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Mannford rates used for Collinsville
$7.00 per dekatherm gas cost for both examples
Average consumption used
All taxes excluded

Questions and Answers

Will gas bills be higher?

Potentially, yes. The stated purpose of the takeover attempt is to generate additional revenue for the city. Officials have publicly claimed that they can operate the system more efficiently, but they have no factual basis for that claim (at present, they don't even know what the purchase price of the system will be, much less the actual operational expenses). Then there is the question of gas supply: What provision has the city of Collinsville made for this winter's natural gas requirements? Natural gas prices continue to escalate. ONG has already secured its customers' requirements through a combination of fixed-price and market-index based contracts, in addition to volumes available in storage. Will Collinsville be forced to buy at market prices during the peak consumption months?

Then there is the issue of price regulation. Oklahoma Natural Gas Company's charges for the delivery service it provides are regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. If the system were taken over by the city of Collinsville , the municipal government would be free to set prices—and increase them—as it pleased.

And what about the level of service? Will the city of Collinsville be willing to bear the expense of new or replacement customer service lines, as ONG does? Will there be payment options, such as an average payment plan or a preferred due date? What about 24-hour emergency service?

Will the system operate safely?
No one questions the dedication of Collinsville 's city employees. But the proper operation, monitoring and maintenance of a natural gas distribution system with 40 miles of pipeline serving 1,872 accounts requires a much greater commitment of resources that simply assigning the work to two employees who already have other responsibilities. Oklahoma Natural Gas Company has hundreds of employees in the region to handle service calls, maintenance and inspection. That is their fulltime job, and they are highly trained and experienced. If service were ever disrupted for any reason, these employees could be quickly mobilized to ensure the safety of residents and the resumption of gas service with the least possible inconvenience to customers.

Do other cities operate gas systems?
Yes, some do. Typically, they are systems that were built by small communities themselves; none were formerly a part of Oklahoma Natural Gas Company. In fact, in the interest of public safety, ONG has been requested by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to take over some poorly-maintained systems operated by municipal governments.

Can Collinsville afford the purchase?
Like many other communities, Collinsville is experiencing budget shortfalls and is implementing cutbacks. Officials cite the advice of “financial advisors” who insist that the ONG system could be purchased without imposing an additional tax burden on citizens. But residents are being asked to sign a blank check because neither city officials or the “financial advisors” yet know how much the ONG system will cost. Collinsville could be required to take on millions of dollars in new debt. To expect a small gas system to be profitable enough to service that amount of debt and provide the additional revenues the city is seeking is unrealistic. (Proponents of the takeover have circulated campaign literature that falsely states that ONG “purchased the franchise from another operator” because of its profitability. In fact, ONG assumed responsibility for the Collinsville system from another utility also owned by Tulsa-based ONEOK, Inc. for operational reasons; there was no purchase.)

What now?
If the citizens of Collinsville reject the gas system takeover plan when you cast your votes on August 9, it will not mean any disruption of your present service. It will simply mean that the city and Oklahoma Natural Gas Company can resume negotiations for a new franchise. Collinsville can be assured of continued reliable natural gas service—a vital requirement for future growth and economic development.

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Don't Mortgage the Future of Collinsville