After failing to vote on OG&E’s request for increased fuel cost adjustment charges, an action one Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner called “kicking the can down the road,” state regulators plan to handle the issue Tuesday.
The agenda released for the 9:30 a.m. meeting showed there is scheduled discussion and possible vote on a proposed letter in accordance with state law related to OGE’s Case No. PUD2022-000097. The agenda item is a request from the Commission’s Public Utility Division for a show cause hearing and commission determination on the utility’s request.
However, it is not clear if Tuesday’s possible vote will be on a letter to the governor explaining why there was no vote within the Constitutionally-required time or a possible decision on the actual fuel adjustment request made by OGE.
It was 10 days ago when commissioners could not reach an agreement on the length of added utility bills by OGE customers—36 months or 48 months. Commissioner Dana Murphy supported the three-year proposal. Commissioner Todd Hiett proposed 48 months. Commissioner Bob Anthony supported neither and criticized OGE for claiming its summer collections fell short by $424 million—a shortage that could amount to a $9.73 monthly increase over a two-year period for the company customers.
Anthony also filed a dissenting opinion on the record, in which he said it was “astonishing” that OGE under-collected fuel costs.
“This distressing news pancakes on top of a recent $30 million rate increase1 as well as a $1.4 BILLION ratepayer–backed bond debt obligation from the 2021 winter storm2 (almost half of it interest and expenses) that must be paid by OG&E customers over the next 28 years. All told, that comes to an unbelievable $2 BILLION hit to ratepayers.”
Commissioner Anthony was dissatisfied with the lack of a vote and suggested all the regulators were doing was “kicking the can down the road.”
OG&E began this week notifying customers that the 7.4% increase in the fuel charge took effect on Oct. 1 of this year. It explained “to help reduce the financial burden on customers,” the under-collected fuel costs would be recovered over a 24-month period.
“We understand the financial impact this increase has on our customers and remain committed to our long track record of providing affordable, reliable electricity,” stated OGE in the notification.
In the “Dear Valued Customer” note, the utility claimed it “worked hard to protect our customers from increased fuel costs in hopes that prices would moderate.”