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Regulators prohibit Oklahoma Gas and Electric from powering ONEOK pump station

Oklahoma regulators approved a CKenergy Electric Cooperative request to prevent Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. from providing retail electric service to a natural gas pumping station in the cooperative's service territory.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission Chairman Dana Murphy and Vice Chairman J. Todd Hiett voted in favor of the order that enjoins Oklahoma Gas and Electric from powering the station. Commissioner Bob Anthony abstained.

Brian Alford, spokesman for Oklahoma Gas and Electric, said in a March 15 email that the company intends to appeal the order to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

In February 2018, ONEOK Inc. announced the Arbuckle II Pipeline, a 530-mile, 400,000 barrel-per-day natural gas pipeline from the company's supply basins in Oklahoma to storage facilities in Texas. ONEOK reached an agreement for Oklahoma Gas and Electric to power a pumping station on the pipeline about 50 miles west of Oklahoma City.

CKenergy asked regulators to prohibit Oklahoma Gas and Electric from providing retail electric service to the pumping station because it is within the electric cooperative's service territory. Commissioners sided with the electric cooperative and issued an order that found that each retail electric service provider has an "exclusive right to furnish retail electric service to all electric consuming facilities located within its certified territory."

With the blessing of the regional transmission organization, the Southwest Power Pool, Oklahoma Gas and Electric planned to access a Western Farmers Electric Cooperative transmission line by building its own high-voltage transmission line near the pump station. The commission found that Oklahoma Gas and Electric "does not intend to 'extend' its retail distribution system to serve" the pump station. Rather, the company "intends to access third-party transmission facilities to serve the pump station," in violation of the law.

Under the order, Oklahoma Gas and Electric is enjoined from "serving or furnishing retail electric service" to the pump station directly from third-party transmission facilities.