In seeking a more than $332 million rate hike request that consumers would see rates increase by more than 13%, Oklahoma Gas and Electric maintains the biggest reason for the request is “the additional capital investment since the last rate case.”
It’s the testimony of Kimber Shoop, director of regulatory affairs at OG&E. He said under questioning the capital investment was directed at the power delivery system and OG&E’s generating facilities.
“Given Oklahoma has increasingly extreme weather conditions, OG&E is focusing on investments in transmission, distribution and grid enhancement/hardening to improve reliability and resiliency during events that are outside the control of the Company,” stated Shoop. He explained OG&E has invested $987 million in the past two years on its power delivery system.
“OG&E is reducing outages and improving restoration times by replacing aging infrastructure, upgrading to better technology and equipment and hardening the distribution system so that it is more resilient in various weather conditions. At the same time, OG&E is investing in new infrastructure to support new and expanding businesses in our service area, to address storm damage, to add new lighting technology, to replace defective and failing equipment, and to upgrade certain assets, facilities, and tools used in providing electric service to the communities
Shoop added that “Not only do our customers demand improvements in reliability, security, and resilience, but a thriving Oklahoma economy depends on those improvements.”
If approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the request would result in an increase of $19.02 a month for the average residential customer. OG&E figures the increase would offset most of the fuel factor reduction of approximately $21 per month for the average residential bill implemented in November 2023.
Still, there is a growing list of OG&E customers opposed to the request and they have made known their opposition in complaints to the Corporation Commission.
“Please compare this company’s profits, salaries and bonuses, etc., look me in the eye and tell me I need to be squeezed more by utility companies,” wrote Celia Elwell of Norman.
Monty Adams had a similar complaint, writing, “We feel helpless a lot of times. Please consider us out here that are having a really hard time.”
Still another OG&E customer wrote, “As a resident on a fixed income, I feel that most in my position on a fixed income are stretched to the limit already and cannot afford any more increases in our monthly bills.”
Thomas Thomson of Oklahoma City complained, “Considering the record profits og&e made in 2022 over 2021, it seems obvious they do NOT need a rate increase. Some of those profits should be rolled into their proposed grid improvements. That is how business works.”
The filings at the Corporation Commission fiill page after page of consumers opposed to the request.
“OGE Chairman Sean Trauschke won’t be hurt by an increase in his electric bill; after all $19 is nothing to a man who got a $1.2 MILLION bonus in 2022. If the upper echelon at OGE would give up their bonuses, they’d have a sizable slush fund to draw from for their projects without involving the hardworking, honest citizens who will never, ever see $1M in their lifetimes,” suggested one customer.
Finally, Stephanie Cook of Shawnee wrote in her letter of opposition, “ I have done everything I can financially afford to make my house more energy efficient, but my summer electricity rates are nearing car payment territory already. This is an unacceptable burden on the people of Oklahoma who rely on
OGE for their power.”