Those opposed to proposed electricity deregulation in Oklahoma celebrated the death of a bill in the Oklahoma legislature.
“Oklahoma lawmakers recognized that HB 1602, the electric deregulation bill that died in committee Thursday, would dismantle our state’s cost and reliability protections for Oklahoma electricity consumers, who largely oppose restructuring,” said Jeff Cloud, Executive Director of the Alliance for Secure Energy and former Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.
He responded after HB 1602 by Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) failed to get a vote before Thursday’s legislative deadline in the House Rules Committee.
Martinez advocated giving commercial and industrial customers in OGE and PSO territories the option of buying electricity from other vendors starting in January 2025.
Cloud suggested it was a good death charging that the Martinez bill was backed by a group of third-party gas marketers. He referred to AERO, the Alliance for Electrical Restructuring and alleged it would stand to profit “from the chaos and confusion that would come from uncoupling transmission and distribution.”
Cloud commended legislators “for unmasking the real consequences for Oklahoma ratepayers who want more, not less oversight on rates and investments utilities make to the grid.”
The bill by Martinez would not have applied to customers of rural electric cooperatives and only to PSO and OGE. Indeed, AERO had publicly praised Martinez and his introduction of the measure, saying he was only seeking solutions for skyrocketing electricity prices.
In a statement last month, Mike Boyd, AERO Executive Director pointed out that resident customers in Oklahoma experienced a 59% price increase in 2022 and in some cases, commercial and industrial consumers saw price increases of more than 100%.
“—it’s unfair to deny Oklahoma families and businesses the chance to shop for better deals and lower prices,” he stated at the time.