PSO Wanting Rate Increase From Ice Storm

Friday, February 22nd 2008, 6:15 pm
By: News On 6

The ice may have melted, but the after affects are not done yet.  PSO wants a rate increase to pay for all the repairs to its power lines and equipment.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports it will cost everyone who is a PSO customer an average of a $1.40 per month, for about 60 months to put the ice storm repairs behind us.

Tim Shelby's not crazy about a hike in his electric bill.

"Not really, not at all, especially with gas prices and stuff like that too," said Shelby.

Others like Terry Maxey think it might be unavoidable.

"I think if it's necessary to do that, they need to do it, because there was a lot of damage that was done.  So we need to get it paid for," said Maxey.

PSO Spokesman Stan Whiteford says they do have an emergency fund of about $4 million, but that doesn't come close to their repair costs.

"This was of course a storm of historic proportions, so the amount built into base rates would not cover that.  It normally does cover storms throughout the year, so this is really an exception," said Whiteford.

Whiteford says the costs to repair the ice storm damage were about $82.7 million.

They were actually able to cut that in half through federal credits for low emissions and with the emergency fund which still leaves about $41 million to pay for.

The amount that PSO collects with the rate increase will of course vary from customer-to-customer, depending on how much electricity they use.

And PSO will add customers as Tulsa's population increase.

So however long it takes to generate the $41 million is how long the rate increase will stay in effect.

"If it happened before 5 years, it would go away then.  If it happened sometime after 5 years, but approximately 5 years," said Whiteford.

Whiteford says PSO has looked into the idea of a disaster insurance policy for the company.  But he says the costs of the premiums would actually wind up being more expensive for the consumer.