Oklahomans who use natural gas to heat their homes can expect to pay less in the coming months, but that won’t happen overnight.
The price of natural gas for residential customers will be $1.75 per million BTU in 2020, down from $2.75 in 2020 and $3.25 in 2021, according to a recent analysis by the Electric Reliability Council of Oklahoma.
The company that operates the state’s electricity grid, FirstEnergy, expects the price drop to be reversed in 2021.
The ERCO is a consortium of energy companies, utilities and governments that manage the state energy supply system.
FirstEnergy and other utility companies have long been lobbying the state legislature to ease or abolish their state gas taxes, which are currently set at 10 cents per thousand BTU.
The state is currently considering lowering them to 5 cents per billion BTU, a move that would also result in a price drop.
That would be the biggest change in state gas tax history.
“The average price of a gallon of natural fuel has gone up from $1 per thousand gallons to $2 per thousand,” said Joe Tapp, executive director of the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Energy.
“Now the price is going down.”
Tapp said he was “not optimistic” that lawmakers would change the law anytime soon.
“We are not in a position to make that happen,” Tapp told the Associated Press.
Tapp and other analysts said a wholesale price increase would be more cost effective for businesses.
But Oklahoma’s gas prices are not expected to decrease dramatically, even with the lower natural gas price.
“Gas prices have not gone down,” Tamp, the utility director, told AP.
“I don’t know of any company that is saying that.”
The state’s natural gas industry has lobbied the Legislature to eliminate the gas tax, which has grown more than 40 percent in the past two decades, according.
Oklahoma currently has a gas tax of 5.5 cents per million cubic feet.