OG&E customer's concerns

To the editors:

On behalf of OG&E, I’d like to correct some misinformation presented in Phyllis Bryant’s recent letter to the editor (“Tell Commission to deny OG&E’s rate increase”).

First, we can’t give ourselves a rate increase, as she claims. We need rate approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. However, state law allows us to initiate interim rates — subject to refund — if the Corporation Commission has not ruled on a rate request within six months of the utility filing. OG&E filed with the Commission in December 2015 and set interim rates in July since no action had been taken. If the Commission denies the rate increase, the interim rates are fully refundable, with interest, to our customers.

OG&E’s last rate increase was in 2012 and was based on 2010 costs. Since 2010, OG&E has invested $2.2 billion in our growing utility infrastructure and experienced significant increases in operating costs. No business can absorb six years of costs without adjustments.

Meanwhile, OG&E has reduced fuel charges three times over the past 10 months. With these three fuel-cost adjustments, the average OG&E residential customer who used the same amount of electricity this summer as last would see a net bill reduction of $7.73 per month compared to last summer.

The writer also references OG&E’s request to increase the monthly customer charge, which covers OG&E’s costs for maintaining all parts of the grid, such as transformers, poles, wires and administrative costs. Because the current $13 charge does not cover all these costs, some of these costs today are included in the kWh (energy use) charges. To mitigate this increase in the customer charge, OG&E is requesting to lower the kWh charge.

We understand that news of a potential increase in electricity bills raises customer concerns, and we’ve taken steps to assure that even if new rates are approved, they’ll stay at 20 percent below the national average.

Randy Swanson
Director, Public Affairs
OGE Energy Corp.

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