AARP continues fight against OGE rate hike request

AARP Oklahoma -

 

The AARP in Oklahoma has come out again in its fight against OGE’s $750 million rate hike request.

In its latest release, the American Association of Retired Persons called the utility’s request an “attempt to pass along $750 million worth of its mistakes” to customers for decades to come.

The consumer group called on Oklahomans “to also raise their voices and fight back.” The request by OGE is to compensate for its natural gas costs that hit during the historic February winter storm.

“Most Oklahomans were unaware of the soaring price of natural gas, and none were given the option to avoid these charges,” stated AARP in a release on Monday. It also said it was surprised to learn that “OG&E failed to take steps to prepare for the storm, OG&E failed to use some of their own gas supplies and instead purchased wildly expensive gas on the open market; and OG&E failed to notify customers of the extent of the impact on their bills.”

“We are fighting to ensure OG&E takes financial responsibility for its actions leading up to and through the weather event,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “OG&E knew this weather event was likely. OG&E did not use all of its gas in storage and kept a high number of generation units offline for maintenance, all contributing to the spending frenzy.”

Voskuhl also warned against what he called a back door attempt by OG&E to move more of the cost allocation of the weather event recovery to residential customers and away from large industrials users.

“It is unfortunate that when OG&E’s customers need them to play fair the most, they are using the securitization process to provide sweetheart deals to a few of their large customers at the expense of hundreds of thousands of residential customers,” said Voskuhl.

He said many older Oklahomans live on fixed or limited incomes and depend on reliable and affordable electric and natural gas services for security, health, and wellbeing.

AARP Oklahoma encourages its nearly 400,000 members and all OG&E customers to contact the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at https://action.aarp.org/stopthehike and share how the proposed $750 million rate increase will affect them.

Source: AARP release

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