Retail Unbundling - Nebraska

Status: The state has one pilot unbundling program for residential gas customers.

Overview: Almost all of the residential and commercial customers in KN Energy's Nebraska service areas are participating in the state's only customer choice pilot program. KN Energy, which serves about one-quarter of the state's residential and commercial customers, initiated its Nebraska Choice Gas Program in April 1998 as a proactive step to unbundling natural gas services in the state. Nebraska has a somewhat unique situation in which individual communities and municipalities, rather than a statewide regulatory body, regulate retail natural gas service. In the fourth year of KN's program, residential and small commercial customers in 176 of the 180 communities served by KN were eligible to choose among six suppliers for their natural gas. The participating suppliers are: KN Gas Services, KN Energy, Midwest United Energy, MxEnergy, ONEOK Gas Marketing, and Public Alliance for Community Energy (formerly PACE and now known as ACE), a municipally owned, not-for-profit organization. Customers were required to make their natural gas supplier selection by May 1, 2001, for service from June 1, 2001, through May 31, 2002. Most customers in the program (48 percent) chose to purchase gas from KN Energy's affiliate, KN Gas Services.

EIA State Data: In 2000, Nebraska had 465,718 residential and 53,972 commercial customers. They consumed 42 and 28 billion cubic feet of natural gas, respectively. The average prices paid for natural gas purchased from local distribution companies by residential and commercial customers were $6.45 and $5.48 per thousand cubic feet, respectively. The average city gate price in Nebraska was $4.52 per thousand cubic feet.

Eligibility/Participation in Retail Choice Programs:

Status as of December 2001: Number of Customers

Customer Type

Total 2000

Eligible Participating
Total Percent of 2000 Total Total Percent of Eligible Percent of 2000 Total
Residential 465,718 73,669 15.8 73,669 100 14.1
Commercial 53,972 13,000 24.1 13,000 100 20.4
Total 519,690 86,669 16.7 86,669 100 16.7

Sources: Total 2000: Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2000 (November 2001). Eligibility and Participation: KN Energy.

Nebraska: Regulatory and Legislative Actions on Retail Unbundling

Summary: Individual communities and municipalities, rather than a statewide regulatory body, regulate retail natural gas service in Nebraska. In setting up its Nebraska Choice Gas Program, KN Energy reached an agreement with each municipality. The company agreed to fund formation of a Municipal Oversight Committee, which would recommend any changes needed in the program and serve as a mediator in any disputes. Nearly all the communities in KN Energy's service territory have voted to participate in the choice program.

Regulatory and Legislative Actions

Regulatory Action 5/01 Customers Select Suppliers for 2001-2002 Choice Program. Balloting to select a supplier for the 2001 choice program occurred in April 2001, with 86,669 customers returning supplier selection forms. Selections were as follows: KN Gas Services-41,366; KN Energy-23,995; ACE-18,472; ONEOK Gas Marketing-1,727; Midwest United Energy- 969; and MxEnergy-142.
5/00 Customers Select Suppliers for 2000-2001 Choice Program. Balloting to select a supplier for the 2000 choice program occurred in April 2000.
5/99 Customers Select Suppliers for 1999-2000 Choice Program. Balloting to select a supplier for the 1999-00 choice program occurred in April 1999, with KN Energy announcing that about 71 percent chose their current supplier. Nearly all communities (176 of 180) are participating in the program.
5/98 Customers Select Suppliers. Balloting to select a supplier for the 1998-99 choice program occurred between 4/17/98 and 5/1/98, with most (82 percent) choosing KN Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of KN Energy. By the end of March 1998, 165 towns had passed ordinances approving participation in the choice program.
2/98 Towns Approve Choice Program. More than half (109 of 181) the Nebraska towns in KN' service territory passed ordinances that allow customer choice in their communities. KN customers can purchase gas from one of four suppliers. The company will continue to provide bundled service to those customers who do not choose a supplier. The utility also offers additional services through a program called "Simple Choice" that allows customers to purchase entertainment, communication, and energy services with "one call" and one bill.
12/97 Agreement Reached on KN Energy's Proposed Choice Program. KN Energy and several Nebraska municipalities reached an agreement on KN's proposed PGA rate increase and planned Choice program. KN Energy agreed to fund formation of a municipal oversight committee, which would recommend program changes and mediate disputes. Municipalities will be able to participate as a supplier in the choice program without having to open their own systems to competition. Towns in KN's service territory will vote on whether or not to participate.

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File last modified: 06/19/2002