OG&E raises rate for residential customers

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Beginning on Friday the rate is going up one penny for OG&E residential customers.

The rate increase affects two rate categories for Smart Hours customers. The low rate is going from five cents per kWh to six cents per kWh. The standard rate will go from nine cents to ten. The highest rates, 19 cents and 43 cents per kWh, will remain the same.

Smart Hours customers like Tracey Lavalle were notified by email or text on Wednesday.

"Oh great." Lavalle reacted. "So I planned on this amount that I was going to pay with these Smart Hours and now they're going to just take it up without even giving us notice basically."

The company's 100,000 Smart Hours customers were notified this week of the change which affects all OG&E customers in Oklahoma.

"We're not charging the customers something we're going to make money on. It's literally a pass through of what we pay for fuel." said OG&E spokesperson Kathleen O'Shea.

According to OG&E the one penny increase for is to help the company pay for the fuel they use to make your electricity.

"We were having a slight increase in our fuel cost adjustment factor." O'Shea said. "When we generate power we have to use fuel, natural gas or coal, and those prices fluctuate."

OG&E under-estimated their fuel cost. Because of fluctuating natural gas prices and usage associated with the so-called polar vortex, the company spent millions more than they anticipated.

"We are literally charging customers what we have been charged, for fuel." said O'Shea.

OG&E will spread the increase out over 17 months to minimize the effect on the customer's bill.

The rate increase affects all OG&E customers.

Smart Hours customers got special early notification July 30th because those families are watching their energy usage and rates more closely than the average consumer.

Every OG&E customer will notice the change on their monthly bill in an area labeled Fuel Cost Adjustment Factor.

CLICK: OGE Fuel Cost Adjustment Factor Rates

CLICK: Understanding Your OG&E Bill