Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony issued a statement Thursday again condemning the winter securitization bond projects totaling $3-$4 billion used by utilities to cover their 2021 winter storm costs.
His statement was critical of the two commissioners who approved the steps to allow OGE, ONG, PSO and Center Point Energy to take advantage of the “Regulated Utility Consumer Protection Act” that was rushed through the legislature following the Winter Storm Uri.
“Recently Oklahomans have been calling and emailing my office in overwhelming numbers. They’ve been sending me copies of their utility bills. They’ve been stopping me in the parking lot, at stores and in the street. They’re angry, upset, and even tearful. These 2021 winter storm charges have just started hitting their already-inflated energy bills; they want to know what these are and how this happened.
I tried my best last fall to convince my fellow commissioners not to do this. I warned them the ratepayer-backed bond financing orders they were approving were bad for ratepayers. I wrote detailed dissenting opinions showing how they were not only flawed and open-ended, but unconstitutional and likely to be very expensive.
But powerful insider interests were behind the winter storm bond deals – directing them, propelling them, pulling the strings – and the special interests won the day over and over throughout the process.
The 2021 winter storm bond deals have now cost ratepayers $1 BILLION more than they were told. Oklahomans have a right to know what happened. Frankly, it’s shaping up to be a tragic, sickening story – worse than I even suspected at the time.
I have already called this “the worst special-interest and insider rip-off of Oklahoma ratepayers I’ve seen in the last 30 years.” In this “Report Card on Securitization: Anatomy of a State Government Screw-Up,” I have done my best to tell a preliminary version of what happened and how, as best I have been able to uncover it, in hopes shedding light on what went wrong will help prevent it from happening again.
Thorough and proper investigation is needed immediately, and by those with greater expertise and resources than I have. When all is said and done and they understand what happened here, I hope and believe Oklahomans will demand changes.”