Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond commended state regulators after they took action last week to reinstate a 2.5% residential rate cap for customers of Public Service Company of Oklahoma.
The Corporation Commission voted 2-0 to follow through with the Attorney General’s request after the members previously voted 2-1 in support of a lower PSO rate hike but not the residential cap. Commissioner Bob Anthony told commissioners at the Tuesday meeting he supported the modification, but did not support the order for the same reasons in his original dissent. In his original dissent, he again raised questions about the lack of an in-depth audit of PSO’s costs in obtaining securitization and the use of bonds to extend its 2021 winter storm costs on ratepayers.
“I commend each commissioner for standing with Oklahoma families in support of lower utility bills. I am grateful the commissioners thoughtfully considered our argument to protect PSO residential customers,” said Drummond in a statement issued by his office.
“Oklahoma families struggling with the effects of inflation deserve greater relief when it comes to utility costs, and today they received that relief. I look forward to working with the Commission on future rate cases to protect the interests of all ratepayers.”
PSO, AARP and the Alliance for Electrical Restructuring in Oklahoma also supported the Attorney General’s motion to reinstate the rate cap.
Commissioner Anthony’s objections to the PSO rate hike are similar to those for other utilities that used the securitization process. He has contended that PSO’s Winter Storm bonds have not been properlyl audited, but the ongoing costs of the bonds being charged annually to ratepayers have also not been audited.
The Commissioner alleges PSO and other utilities that used the securitization proces are profiting on the 2021 winter storm fuel costs through the bond payments being charged to customers.