OCC Hears Testimony From Utility Advisors to Support Additional Funding

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony voiced his concern as expert witnesses testified during Thursday morning’s meeting at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Four utility companies are seeking Commission approval for additional funding to recoup losses from the winter storms of February 2021.

OG&E projected a need for an additional $2.12 per month from each customer but discovered that it actually needs $3.34 per month instead. Following the OCC’s approval of a $30 million settlement earlier this year, the company announced the rate increase would take effect immediately on July 1.

Commissioner Anthony took issue with the fact that OG&E’s price hike was 60 percent higher than the amount approved by the OCC.

“I’m looking for somebody committed legally to the best interests of the ratepayers,” said Anthony.

When Anthony questioned OG&E’s expert witness why the rate increase was significantly higher, Michael Newman, a financial advisor for Hilltop Securities, advised that the current market condition led to the change in price of bonds which were purchased as part of the rate increase process.

Commissioner Anthony requested an independent rate review during Thursday’s meeting.

ONG, PSO and Summit are also seeking to recoup additional funding for extra costs. It is anticipated that ONG’s request will be higher than that of OG&E.