OGE’s rate hike arrived in the mail box over the weekend



The snail mail news of OG&E’s jump in utility rates arrived over the weekend.

The utility slipped into the startling climb in rates by opening, ‘We know you depend on us to energize your home and business and that your top priority for us is reliability.”

Further down in the letter came the slap in the face news—the 6.6% rate increase agreed by OG&E and other stakeholders who filed their cases with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission will mean another $9.58 a month for the average residential customer.

OG&E attempted to soften the news by pointing out, “This amount, agreed to by stakeholders, is less than OG&E originally requested and maintains key operational investments to sstrengthen the electric grid.”

OK Energy Today and other news outlets reported earlier last week that the utility implemented the increase on July 1 while awaiting for a final decision from the Corporation Commission. The move is allowed under state law and if regulators decide to change the increase in any manner, then a refund would be a possibility.

OG&E originally asked for a rate hike that would have added $19.02 more to a residential customer’s monthly bill. But through negotiations with the Attorney General and a number of other organizations, the reduction was negotiated.

OG&E, in the letter to customers tried to ease the pain by maintaining that things could have been worse had it not been for last month’s fuel redutions which lowered rates by about $15 this summer. The utility also pointed to a $60 a year increase in the Silver Energy senior citizen discount for qualified customers enrolled in SmartHours.

The company also claimed there will be other benefits, such as more money budgeted for forestry management to reduce outages caused by trees.



OG&E is moving forward with raising customers’ bills starting July 1 even though the request has yet to be heard by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. earlier this month entered into a settlement with all parties except for the AARP, which opposed the utility’s original rate request that would have raised the average monthly residential bill by $19.02.

An uncontested settlement dropped the rate hike from a historic 13.85%, or $332.5 million, to a 6.6%, or $126.6 million. As a result, the proposed average monthly residential bill increase will be $9.58, still higher than any OG&E rate increase over the past 20 years.

The settlement was presented last week to an administrative law judge who has yet to make a recommendation to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which has final say on utility rate increases. Corporation commissioners have yet to set a hearing on the application.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Trey Davis said state law allows OG&E to proceed with the unapproved rate increase.

“PSO did something similar with its last rate case in 2023,” Davis said. “The utility can begin charging pending action from the commission. Everything will be cleared up at that point, and if it’s modified at that point, then there will be a refund made to customers.”

As reported by The Oklahoman, the request, if it had been approved, would have increased earnings for some of the world’s largest equity funds led by executives with compensation packages topping $20 million.

OG&E emailed customers on Friday advising them the rate change will include a $60 annual increase in the Silver Energy senior citizen discount for qualified customers enrolled in SmartHours.

The rate increase also will pay for electric grid upgrades and additional forestry management to reduce outages caused by trees and tree limbs falling on lines.

OG&E also reported to customers the settlement was “agreed to by stakeholders.” The settlement is not, however, supported by the AARP.

AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl said more than 3,700 AARP members called, emailed and signed petitions pleading with corporation commissioners not to approve yet another rate hike from a company that made more than $425 million in profits last year.

“The settlement’s terms will raise utility bills nearly $10 a month, an amount many customers simply cannot afford as OG&E continues to raise rates with no end in sight,” Voskuhl said. “While customers are forced to choose between buying food and medicine and keeping the lights on, OG&E, year after year, rakes in millions of dollars in profits. Oklahomans are fed up with utility companies lining their pockets and expecting customers to pick up another $126 million tab.”

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OG&E raising customers’ bills while awaiting rate increase approval