(Oklahoma City-AP) -- An electric utility deregulation bill passed the Oklahoma Senate today and headed for a final vote in the House.
Senator Kevin Easley, a Broken Arrow Democrat, says the measure will bring competition to the generation of electricity in Oklahoma, beginning on July first, 2002. He says it contains safeguards to protect consumers.
Senator Dave Herbert criticized the bill and the move to so-called deregulation.
Herbert says ratepayers will eventually suffer because a few companies will get control of the nation's electricity through buyouts over a number of years.
After it goes into effect, the measure freezes rates to residential and commercial consumers until March first, 2005.