Round two of OGE rate hike request coming Tuesday


The opening round of the newly reduced rate hike request by Oklahoma Gas and Electric lasted only ten minutes Monday morning as a Corporation Commission Administrative Law Judge heard one public comment in person.

ALJ Carly Ortel took  public comments on OG&E’s new rate hike request of $126.6 million, one reduced from the original request filed last year asking for $332 million in higher rates. One comment was heard from an OG&E customer who complained how his electric bills have increased over the years and he didn’t understand the ratemaking process.

The three corporation commissioners were not present for the public hearing.

Judge Ortel later  explained the settlement portion of the utility’s request will be heard Tuesday morning at an 8:30 a.m. session. A third hearing will be held Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. She had originally scheduled the third hearing to be held Wednesday before realizing it was the Juneteenth federal holiday.

OG&E filed a stipulated agreement last week that was reached with a number of groups who convinced the utility to lower its rate hike request. The uncontested settlement was filed in court on June 12.

This Uncontested Settlement is the result of significant give and
take from all parties, and the Stipulating Parties believe the compromise is fair, just, and reasonable and in the public interest,” stated OG&E attorney Kimber Shoop in testimony filed with the Corporation Commission in the case.

The settlement was reached with the Corporation Commission’s Public Utility Division, the Oklahoma Attorney General, the Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers, Federal Executive Agencies, Association of Electric Cooperatives, OG&E Shareholders Association, Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, CMC Steel and Walmart Inc. AARP did not sign the agreement but according to Shoop, does not oppose it.

OG&E originally asked for a rate hike of $332.54 million and a return on equity of 10.50% The settlement agreement slashed the request to a total base rate increase of $126.66 million and reduces the residential customer impact from 13.85% or $19.02 a month to 6.6% and $9.58 more a month. The company’s return on equity will be 9.5%.

Shoop pointed out in his testimony that despite the proposed increase, residential customers will still see bills lower than a year ago because OG&E recently implemented a reduction to its fuel factors which will lower the average bill by $25 a month.

“That means the average residential customer monthly bill will still be approximately $15 lower this summer compared to
last summer even with the implementation of Uncontested Settlement,” he said.

Residential service is OG&E’s most obvious source of revenue and totals $1,169,238,026. The utility’s new request would add another $76,975,720 in new revenue bringing total proposed revenue from residential customers to $1,246,213,746 for a 6.6% increase. The figures were part of attorney Shoop’s testimony on file with the Corporation Commission.
General Service revenue, under the settlement, would increase 7.5% for a total revenue of $256,764,103. The largest increase in rates, per the stipulated settlement, would be 10.7% for the revenue section classified as ‘Lighting’.
Small public schools will see a proposed increase of 6.4% while large public schools will pay 5.9% more. Oil and gas production will not see any rate hike. Nor will the topic listed as Municipal Pumping. Oklahoma Retail Jurisdiction with current revenue of $2,813,500,256 will go up 4.5% raising total revenue to $2,940,163,888.