State regulators urged to approve OGE rate agreement

When the Oklahoma Corporation Commission votes in a few weeks on a proposed rate package for Oklahoma Gas and Electric, it will do so with the recommendation of approval from an administrative law judge.

OGE originally filed a request last year for a $78 million rate increase but attorney general Mike Hunter’s office opposed the amount. Instead, the Attorney General argued the utility should reduce rates by $32 million.

Now the Administrative Law Judge has signed off on a proposed agreement to end the utility’s pending rate case. Under the agreement, customers would not see any increase in their rates. The utility along with the Attorney General, two consumer advocate organizations and two large power users also agreed to the settlement.

The agreement came after OGE recently acquired the AES Shady Point power plant and the Oklahoma Cogeneration in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club is opposed to the ALJ’s recommendation. President Johnson Bridgwater issued a statement.

“This recommendation flies in the face of what Oklahoma regulators and the Oklahoma Supreme Court have said in the past and ignores evidence that anyone can see: OG&E’s decision to spend half a billion dollars to keep an old, inefficient, dirty coal plant running was a waste of money. It was a bad decision when OG&E announced it in 2014, and remains a bad decision in 2019.

“Renewable energy sources are more than sufficient for OG&E to provide stable, affordable power to Oklahoma consumers. OG&E’s commitment to coal is bad for Oklahoma ratepayers, bad for Oklahoma’s economy, bad for Oklahoma’s health, and bad for Oklahoma’s air and water.

“The Sierra Club hopes the three elected commissioners on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, who have the final say on this decision, will ultimately look at the facts in the record rather than accept OG&E’s hollow arguments for propping up a 40-year-old coal plant at a time of record-low prices for clean alternatives like wind and solar power. The people of Oklahoma deserve nothing less.”