Judge recommends approval of rate settlement for Empire Electric

An administrative law judge is recommending the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approve a proposed settlement agreement that would hold rates at Empire Electric District as they are for at least another year.

Under the agreement, the nearly 4,700 customers in Craig, Delaware and Ottawa counties in northeast Oklahoma would not see rates increase under the company’s original $2.3 million rate hike request. The ALJ approved an agreement in which Empire Electric would limit its increase to $1.4 million, a move that would provide a 9.5% return on equity for the company.

When Empire filed the original request, it was opposed by the Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers group because it would have increased rates for large commercial and industrial customers by nearly 20%.

Empire reached an agreement that would allow it to increase customers’ rates in the second and third years. The average residential customer would see a monthly increase of nearly $4.71 or 6.2%. In the third year, rates would increase $8.56 or 10.7% a month.