Electric rates expected to rise

Monday, February 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Oklahomans enjoy the lowest electric rates in the region, the eighth lowest in the country.

Officials in the electricity industry say those rates will be going up.

While state legislators are faced with decisions on how and when to deregulate electricity, many are watching the problems that are blamed on deregulation in states like California.

Oklahoma City energy consultant Doug Burton says the state's low rates have helped economic development. Burton adds that deregulation wasn't meant for states like Oklahoma that have low electric rates.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma official Alan Decker contends that rates will go up with or without deregulation. Decker says he believes deregulation will help lessen the rate increases.

State Representative Hopper Smith of Tulsa predicts lawmakers will at least vote to delay the start of deregulation during the legislative session that begins today.