While the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is in the process of holding a Notice of Inquiry and an exploration of alternative ratemaking and right of first refusal, Commissioner Bob Anthony is using a 32-year old previous Inquiry to show the commission does have the ability to investigate utilities and their charges from the 2021 Winter Storm Uri.
In a recent filing, the commissioner pointed to a 3 and one-half year inquiry carried out by the Corporation Commission in 1991.
“In contrast to certain unfounded and unfortunate, but often repeated, Corporation Commissioner public statements made since the February 2021 Winter Storm Uri that “the Commission lacks jurisdiction,” the 1991 NOI claims no such impotence,” he wrote in his filing.
“Furthermore, the 1991 NOI explicitly mentions “the use of natural gas for electric power generation, and…seasonal demand imbalances.”
Anthony said it also noted the inclusion of marketers, brokers and issues for anti-trust, competitive pricing, and market forces.”
The Commissioner has been at odds with Commissioners Todd Hiett and Kim David who contend the Commission does not have the authority to investigate the utilities that used bonds to pass along extensive rate increases to consumers to cover costs of the winter storm.
Anthony noted the 3.5 year long inquiry that started in 1991 involved the participation of 37 respondents including electric and gas utilities, producers, gatherers, brokers and marketers. It wasn’t until February 1995 whe a final order was issued finding the “Commisson has jurisdiction of the subject” and addressed the topics of competitively priced natural gas, the existence of pricing disparities, excessive rates, unjust discrimination and whether a PCL or transportation rate should be deemed fair and not excessive.
“Sound familar?” asked Anthony in his filing. “How could such essential topics now be considered “beyond the Commission’s authority” when the OCC spent more than three years investigating them in the 1990s?”