The $2.4 billion renewable energy plan of Public Service Company of Oklahoma won the praise of Oklahoma Corporation Commission chairman Todd Hiett before it was recently approved on a 2-0 commission vote.
As he prepared to vote in support of the settlement agreement reached by the Attorney General, PSO and other groups, Hiett offered his comments.
“It’s one of the most well-structured settlements that I have seen and it has, I believe, adequate protections for the ratepayers.”
Hiett said the plan allows the company to make investments meeting capacity needs.
“I think the outline and the settlement set up a framework for that process to be very well balanced and very protective of consumers and at the same time, meet the needs of the company for capacity,” concluded Hiett.
Corporation Commissioner Kim David, who also voted to approve the plan, added a caveat about her support.
“I really appreciate the fact that AEP wants to be all green and there are all the tax credits out there right now for green generation, but this is Oklahoma,” she said adamantly.
‘I appreciate the fact that future RPs will be all source,” she added, a reference to a request for projects that will also include other sources of energy in addition to solar and wind.
AEP is the American Electric Power company, parent firm to PSO.
Under the massive project, formally called the Fuel-Free Power Plan, PSO acquired three solar farms and three wind farms located in southern Kansas and the Texas Panhandle. The company intends to use them to slowly begin trimming its dependence on natural gas to power its electricity production. The six renewable energy projects will result in additional 995.54 megawatts of energy to the company generation mix.
It won’t be until 2026 when customers will see their monthly bills decline
“Approval of this agreement allows PSO to deliver needed electricity to customers, while reducing their energy bills. That’s a classic win-win scenario,” said PSO President and Chief
Operating Office Leigh Anne Strahler.
“We thank the Corporation Commissioners and all the
parties in the case for their hard work, which will produce substantial benefits for our customers.”
For the average PSO residential customer who uses 1,100 kilowatt-hours/month, electric bills would initially rise 1.46% or $1.95 a month in mid-2025. When federal tax incentives and lower fuel costs become available in 2026, bills will go down $2.59, which is 64 cents lower than the current rates.