LAWTON, Oklahoma (November 1, 2022) – Summit Utilities Oklahoma (Summit) announced that rising energy costs across the United States and the world are impacting the cost of gas for its customers this winter. While natural gas is still more affordable than other heating alternatives, this year’s cost of natural gas will be higher than what customers saw in the 2021-2022 winter heating season. The increased cost is due to a variety of factors including lingering impacts on supply due to COVID-19 and increased global demand being driven by weather, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and increased reliance on natural gas for electric production.
It’s important to note that Summit does not make a profit on
the cost of natural gas delivered to its customer’s homes or businesses; the
price of natural gas is passed through to customers at cost and appears on
their bill as the “Gas Supply Rate.” Essentially, customers pay what Summit
pays. Traditionally, the cost of gas is set by the utility twice a year;
however, a mid-season adjustment can be made if market conditions change considerably.
Changes to the price of natural gas are driven by the energy market.
Beginning November 1, 2022, the cost of gas, or gas supply rate, will be $0.97970 /ccf for residential customers.
Also beginning November 1, 2022, Oklahoma customers will notice a new line item on their bill called the Winter Event Securitization Recovery Mechanism (WESCRM). This Securitization charge was enabled by the Oklahoma legislature. It allows Oklahoma utilities covered by the legislation to spread the gas costs and other associated costs from Winter Storm Uri in February 2021 over a much longer time period, thereby reducing the monthly impact to customers. The initial WESCRM rate will be $5.26 per month for residential customers.
The actual overall bill impact will vary by customer depending on usage, the size and age of the home, number of gas appliances, number of people in the household, thermostat settings, levels of insulation and other factors. The best way to lower usage is to turn your thermostat down to 65 degrees or lower.
"With energy costs on the rise, we encourage our customers to prepare now for the winter heating season ahead," said Cindy Westcott, Vice President of Operations at Summit. "Whether it's payment assistance options or energy efficiency improvements, we're available to help our customers manage their heating costs. The team at Summit makes every effort to purchase natural gas at the lowest possible price and we will continue to monitor the natural gas markets throughout the winter for opportunities to reduce the cost of gas for our customers.”
At Summit, providing safe, reliable, and affordable energy solutions to our valued customers is a priority. Summit wants to take the opportunity to remind customers of simple steps they can take to reduce their energy usage, save money, and stay comfortable.
Simple steps to reduce energy usage this fall and winter:
In addition to these simple steps, there are payment and energy assistance programs offered in Oklahoma, as well as by Summit, to support customers and reduce energy costs.
If customers are having trouble paying their bills, Summit will work with them to set up a payment plan and help find possible energy assistance options. Customers can visit our Payment Assistance page or our Energy Saving Tips page for more information.
To learn more about what impacts gas costs, visit our blog.
Background on Summit Utilities, Inc.’s Acquisition:
Summit closed its acquisition of CenterPoint Energy’s distribution assets in Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Texarkana, Texas area on January 10, 2022. The gas distribution systems included in the transaction serve approximately 525,000 customers in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, and include 17,000 miles of gas main pipeline across those three states. As part of the acquisition, Summit has welcomed nearly 600 former CenterPoint team members to the company. After a year-long transition period, Summit will take on all customer service and billing services for its new customers beginning November 1st.
To learn more about these changes, click here.
Background on Summit Utilities, Inc.
Summit Utilities, Inc. owns natural gas distribution and transmission subsidiaries that operate in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company provides safe, clean and affordable natural gas to businesses and residents in six states through Arkansas Oklahoma Gas, Colorado Natural Gas, Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Summit Natural Gas of Missouri, Summit Utilities Arkansas, and Summit Utilities Oklahoma. Each of Summit’s natural gas distribution and transmission subsidiaries constructs and installs natural gas distribution systems with the goal of supporting economic development by providing clean-burning, safe and reliable natural gas to residential and commercial customers through exceptional customer service and commitment to community. Overall, Summit entities serve approximately 625,000 customers and operate more than 23,400 miles of pipeline.