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Oklahoma Gas & Electric began alerting customers this month of a request it intends to make before regulatory officials that would allow the utility to charge its customers an additional $875 million over the next 13 years.
The utility claims the $875 million is needed to cover costs incurred during February's winter storm. Before OG&E can pass any costs along to consumers, the request must pass through a regulatory process before the state's Corporation Commission.
Here's what we know about the request.
The notification, sent via both mail and email, informs customers the utility is seeking to recover costs it says were needed to keep power flowing across its portion of the regional grid, a portion that serves 858,000 Oklahomans, during the storm.
OG&E's final costs will not be known until the Southwest Power Pool (the regional transmission operator) finalizes its verification and dispute resolution processes on costs. Also, expenses the utility submitted to the commission are still being audited. Officials have filed testimony in the pending case that states the company's total storm impact is nearing $1 billion systemwide (which includes parts of Arkansas).
Filed testimony shows OG&E seeks approval to recover costs by securitizing debt using bonds sold to investors that it proposes would be retired 13 years after they are issued.
The notification sent by OG&E states an average residential consumer whose home uses 1,100 kilowatt hours a month in electricity could expect to pay an extra $3.93 a month over those 13 years to retire the debt.
However, this estimate is based on the amount of $875 million paid off over 13 years. Neither the dollar amount or length of time to collect that debt is final, and changes made throughout the regulatory process could affect amounts paid by customers.
Some have filed testimony arguing some of the total expense should be thrown out by regulatory officials, which could lower the monthly amount paid by customers.
Other testimony filed in the case argues OG&E should extend the payout period for the $875 million to 23 years, which would also reduce that monthly surcharge, but add 10 years to the payoff period.
The bond indebtedness option pursued by OG&E was created by Oklahoma's legislature to lessen storm costs' impact on consumers. OG&E believes this could reduce average customer bill surcharges, from about $5.67 to the estimated $3.93.
A review of OG&E's request commences at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 11 before an administrative law judge at the commission. After reviewing testimony and holding hearings to give interested parties opportunities to argue their positions, the judge will make a recommendation to the commission's three elected members, where more hearings for arguments could take place before a final decision is reached.
Public comments on the case, PUD 202100072, can be taken electronically through firstname.lastname@example.org and will be accepted in written form by mail sent to the clerk of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, 2101 N Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105.
The procedural schedule approved by the commission requires a decision to be reached in the case by Dec. 15, commission documents show.