Oklahoma regulators decide to use ‘outside’ expert in reviewing utility fuel costs

External experts in the Quality Assurance processes - TeSLA Project


The Oklahoma Corporation Commission approved Tuesday a measure to look into the process under which an outside expert would be hired to examine un-securitized 2021 fuel cost recovery charges of Oklahoma Natural Gas, Oklahoma Gas and Electric, and Public Service Company of Oklahoma.

The measure was brought by Commission Chairman Todd Hiett at the Tuesday meeting after Commissioner Bob  Anthony introduced the suggestion in a filing he made last week.

Commissioner Anthony called for a thorough review of expenses and suggested the commission utilized the help of outside experts and auditors “so that the Commission can have complete and accurate information from which to determine of the utilities’ 2021 fuel costs were “fair, just and reasonable expenses.”

“The issue of the much higher fuel charges on natural gas and electric bills for 2021 was not unique to Oklahoma. Every state experienced a run-up in prices,” said Hiett in a statement released by the agency’s communication’s office.

Chairman Hiett added there has been a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation about the process under which utilities in the state can recover fuel costs at no profit.

“I have full confidence in the work done by the Public Utility Division staff in its audit and prudency review of the costs at issue in these cases to ensure the laws applying to the fuel cost recovery were followed,” Hiett added.

“However, given the higher costs that are associated in these cases and the need to bring as much clarity as possible to the matter, I believe that all steps should be taken in a kind of ‘belt and suspenders’ approach to have, in addition to the exhaustive review already given these costs, an outside expert do an additional assessment.”