AARP Oklahoma Opposes OG&E Plan For Cost Recovery From Winter Storm

Monday, October 18th 2021, 6:12 pm
By: Emory Bryan

AARP Oklahoma is opposing a plan for OG&E to recover their costs for natural gas by increasing utility bills for as long as 28 years.

Utility bills for gas and electric service could go up, pending action by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Utility companies are trying to recoup their costs for natural gas used last February, when an unusual cold streak affected the state.

The proposed agreement for OG&E would increase an average homeowners’ bill by $2.12 a month for 28 years. The company hopes to recover $750 million through the increase.

AARP Oklahoma opposes the proposal, arguing OG&E could offset the costs more, and should have done more before the storm to avoid the financial hit.

"So we've got hundreds of millions of dollars in costs that customers will be asked to absorb if we don't ask a lot of questions and make sure these costs are reasonable," said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “We are fighting to ensure OG&E takes financial responsibility for its actions leading up to and through the weather event. OG&E knew this weather event was likely.”

The utility is asking the commission for permission to spread their cost over such a long term to avoid higher bills if the cost was recovered more quickly.

Oklahoma Natural Gas and AEP-PSO have similar cost recovery requests coming before the commission in the coming months.

The OG&E case will be decided, by the Corporation Commissioners, before the end of the year, while the others will come after that.

OG&E issued the following statement in response, saying they are working to lessen the impact on Oklahoma families.

We understand recovering the costs of the February winter weather event in a single bill would have an extreme impact on Oklahoma families, including seniors. That is why OG&E is working with state leaders, Oklahoma Corporation Commission staff and other stakeholders to spread fuel costs over time, which will result in a much lower and more predictable monthly rate.
As OG&E does not profit from fuel costs, the company seeks only to recover the direct cost of fuel for the February winter weather event. Our number one priority is to provide reliable, affordable electric service to all customers and severe winter weather can have a significant impact on older adults and those who utilize life-saving equipment at home. We are committed to providing dependable service to them and all OG&E customers.