Supreme Court referee hears more utility bond cases


An Oklahoma Supreme Court referee heard arguments Wednesday as three utilities sought nearly $3 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds to pay for their 2021 February storm costs.

The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority pitched the requests in all three separate hearings before referee Kyle Rogers. The hearings were held publicly but not aired live over the Internet. A previous request made by OG&E was carried live over the Internet because of COVID-19 restrictions.

In Wednesday’s hearings, the largest was made by Oklahoma Natural Gas. It is seeking $1.4 billion in bonds, a request that was opposed by former legislator Mike Reynolds who also appeared before the court referee.

Reynolds argued previously in a Supreme Court filing that the request by ONG is unconstitutional and asked the Court Wednesday to invalidate the use of the bonds for ONG.

The ODFA also made presentations requesting$725,000 ratepayer-backed bonds for Public Service Company and $95,000,000 in bonds for Summit Utilities Oklahoma.

No one spoke in opposition to the requests of those two utilities.

The first such ratepayer-backed bond case, one presented earlier in the year by Oklahoma Gas and Electric is still pending with the Supreme Court.

“The Court is trying to handle the cases as expeditiously as possible,” explained Rogers when questioned by OK Energy Today. 

He said because of the importance of the cases, they take precedent over other matters for the Court.

“There could be a ruling by the end of spring or early summer,” added Rogers. “I have no idea when.”

The court will consider the ONG, PSO and Summit Utilities cases when Rogers reviews the arguments and makes his recommendations to the justices.