Oklahoma regulators to deal with AG’s request next week


Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners won’t take up until next week the request by Attorney General Gentner Drummond to re-do their recent rate hike approval for Public Service Company.

Commissioners Todd Hiett, Bob Anthony and Kim David are attending the annual meeting and education conference of NARUC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. The meeting is underway in La Quinta, California and ends on Wednesday.

The Attorney General’s Motion for Reconsideration will be considered by the commissioners when they meet Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 1:30 p.m. Drummond made his request because the rate hike approved by the Commission was higher than what a stipulated settlement agreement declared.

The agreement was reached by the Attorney General’s Office, PSO, AARP and the Public Utility Division of the Corporation Commission. It proposed a monthly residential increase of $3.57, rather than the original $14 hike proposed by PSO when it filed the rate case.

The rate hike approved by the commissioners, on a 2-1 vote, did not match what the settlement agreement declared. Instead, the new rate hike turned out to be $5.35 more a month, something Drummond said was 50% more than he agreed to support.

The new rate hike was supported by Todd Hiett and Kim David, but not by commissioner Bob Anthony who contended there were unanswered cost questions regarding PSO’s use of ratepayer backed bonds stemming from the 2021 Winter Storm Uri. He refused to support the utility’s latest request until the Commission ordered an audit of the costs of the bond project and stated so in a dissent filing.

In a statement announcing his request this week, the Attorney General said PSO ratepayers deserve better.

“My office worked diligently to craft an agreement to protect ratepayers as much as possible, and I am extremely disappointed that it was cast aside in favor of higher bills for residential customers,” said the attorney general.

He also called the rate hike to be “unnecessary.”