To the editors:

Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) recently gave themselves a $69.6 million rate increase at ratepayers’ expense. They couldn’t wait for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to approve or deny their $92.5 million rate-increase request. So a technicality in the law permitted the big utility to just raise their own rates. It sure doesn’t work like that at my job.

You would think OG&E is barely squeaking by financially, but actually the company reported revenue of $2.2 billion and net income of $271 million for 2015, but paid no income taxes because of accumulated federal and state tax benefits earned in prior years. On Jan. 1, the company still held more than $150 million in unused state tax credits.

Citizens should oppose OG&E’s $92.5 million rate increase. It would double the base rate – that’s the amount we pay no matter how much or little electricity we use – from $13 to $26 per month. The rate increase would also create a more regressive “demand charge” pay structure by allowing the big utility to identify our highest 15 minutes of electric use during the month and multiply that kilowatt use by $2.75 as an additional charge on our bills.

No publicly regulated utility in the U.S. has ever been allowed to place a demand charge on residential users. We don’t want to be first. Now is not the time. Please tell the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at (405) 521-2211 before it’s too late.

Phyllis Bryant

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