Surprise OGE rate hike settlement request to be considered by Oklahoma regulators


Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners will meet Monday to consider a surprise reduction of a $332 million rate hike initially requested by Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. down to nearly $127 million.

What was surprising in the move to slash the rate hike request by nearly half was that the agreement the utility reached with a number of groups including the state Attorney General, the Commission’s own Public Utilities Division and consumer organizations that initially opposed the request, it came months after OG&E vigorously defended the $332 million rate hike request.

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,” testifed OG&E attorney Kimber Shoop in January.

He further stated that the utility had invested $987 million on its power delivery system over the past two years.

“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,” he further explained, as OK Energy Today reported in mid-January.

Shoop also claimed, “Not only do our customers demand improvements in reliability, security, and resilience, but a thriving Oklahoma economy depends on those improvements.”

Something happened since January, something that led to the unexpected and uncontested settlement. If state regulators, in their 8:30 a.m. meeting approve the sliced request of $126.6 million, the average residential customer would still feel the impact of another $9.58 more a month or 6.6% on their OG&E bill. The utility’s original request would have been 13.85% or nearly $19.02 more a month. It would also increase the cap on shareholder return on earnings from 9.5% to 10.5%.

The $126.6 million settlement request is still the largest for OG&E since 2017.