Corporation Commission to vote Friday on lower OGE utility bills

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is moving quickly to adapt the historic $64 million OGE rate reduction agreement reached with Attorney General Mike Hunter.

The Commission has the item on its Friday morning agenda for a vote on the Cause No. PUD 201700496 to lower utility bills beginning next month.

Part of the agreement involves a one-time refund as a result of the $18.5 million federal corporate income tax cut. But Commissioner Bob Anthony suggests the refund would not have been necessary had the state and the commission acted on his December 2017 call to immediately take action.

“Some people are fond of saying that investor-owned, taxpaying public utilities don’t really pay taxes. They collect taxes from ratepayers and then pass it on to the federal government,” he said at late 2017 meeting. “So if that rate changes, then fairness would make you think the consumers ought to enjoy some benefit.”

When he made the comments, the tax break had yet to win approval in Congress but was imminent. His public comments came after he wrote in a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners newsletter that ratepayers should get an immediate break on their bills.

The settlement with OGE came after Congressman lowered the federal corporate income tax rate.

“If new legislation significantly decreases income tax expense paid by regulated utilities to the federal government, shouldn’t ratepayers therefore get lower rates?” he asked in the national newsletter.

Now they are with a nearly $19 average reduction on July bills of OGE custsomers and an average of $4.44 for each of the following months.

The Corporation Commission meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday in the Jim Thorpe Office building.

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