Hearing Date Set To Determine Oklahoma’s Energy Price Hike
With the hot and muggy dog days of summer upon us, it's easy to forget about that incredible deep freeze we had back in February. Luckily, the power companies are there to remind us by requesting a price hike going forward for all utility customers in the state, including all of us on PSO here in Lawton.
While fuel costs soared for everyone affected by the freeze, Texas was the state every media outlet focused on the most. The way their energy economy is set up, people were anticipating bills in the tens of thousands of dollars due to what some called 'amazingly poor planning by the energy companies.'
In an effort to recoup what was spent on fuel and energy, top companies like Oklahoma Gas & Electric and PSO have asked the OK Corporation Commission for a bail out. They want to hike the price of fuel for a set amount of time to pay back the additional costs which would average an extra +/-$4 per month per consumer for the next decade.
This big ask isn't without its opponents though. Specialty and consumer groups are pretty critical of this motion from big energy, saying these companies make billions each year in pure profit so they can afford to absorb a once-in-a-lifetime event such as this. One group called VOICE - Voices Organized In Civic Engagement - is challenging the suggestion that big energy groups like OG&E and PSO took prudent and reasonable actions during the freeze and are instead looking to protect their monopoly's so-called "financial secrets."
OG&E is currently petitioning the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for an $875million rate hike. PSO is asking the same for $732.5million. Even though PSO's request is smaller, due to the shorter list of customers, the $4 added cost will be among the highest per-consumer across the board.
Is it wrong for them to seek out recouping their money? I don't think so. We needed it, we used it, we should pay for it. After seeing some Texans get $20,000 utility bills, I'd be happy to pay it out $4 at a time.
All the same, if they didn't properly prepare for the forecast we had nearly three weeks in advance, it might be understandable that these huge profit-earning corporations reap what they sow and eat it out of their own coffers.
The hearings for all of this wild madness will start in October.