Electric companies are asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for ways to keep utility bills from skyrocketing all at once after last week’s winter storm.
The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) said the cost spike from last week's winter storms is so significant, they'd like to raise rates slightly over the next few years to ease the burden on customers.
Brian Alford with OG&E gave perspective on outrageous fuel costs.
"To give you a sense of scale, we spent a billion dollars over the course of the week. That far exceeded our entire fuel budget for 2020," he said.
Alford and Stan Whiteford with PSO said asking their combined nearly 1.5 million customers to pay that all at once isn't right.
"The cost associated with last week's event will be sharply higher than what we have ever experienced. And using a standard recovery process will have an unacceptable effect on our customers," Whiteford said.
Both companies filed proposals with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that would stretch out that payment over time. OG&E proposed a 10 percent increase over 10 years.
"We're basically asking the corporation committee to help us with a mechanism to recover those costs," Whiteford said.
If the filings don't work out, Alford said you don't have to look far to see a customer's worst-case scenario.
"I think all one needs to do is to look at some of the stories that we're seeing out of Texas. The $5,000, $10,000 and excess of $15,000 bills in some cases," Alford said.
A solution won't come quickly. The Corporation Commission said there's still a lot of work to be done to research and audit the companies' fuel costs, making sure the proposed solutions are not only legal but the best solution.
"We all seem to have a pretty good idea of where we want to go and how we want to get there, it's just digging into it and really doing the hard work," Whiteford said.
These proposals get the ball rolling but it could be weeks before any final decision on customer's electric bill is made.