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Judge rules in favor of returning tax savings to PSO Customers

OKLAHOMA CITY – Ad administrative law judge has ruled that an Oklahoma energy company should pass along its tax savings to its customers.

In December,  Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter filed five motions with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to ask for an immediate reduction in customer utility rates from the state’s leading utility companies.

Hunter says the new federal tax reform bill that was signed into law will lower the highest corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, which will save the state’s largest utility providers approximately $100 million.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma was estimated to save about $24 million.

“These companies will begin seeing major savings after the tax cut is implemented on Monday,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Oklahomans who are customers of these companies should immediately retain the benefits of the savings from the tax cut in the form of lower rates. We urge the OCC to act quickly and in the best interests of customers, not company shareholders.”

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission ultimately voted against immediate rate reductions, but says companies should track the savings to determine rate cuts at a later date.

Recently, Administrative Law Judge Mary Candler recommended that PSO pass along the income tax savings to customers in the form of reduced rates. However, it will be up to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to determine what will happen.

“We appreciate Judge Candler recommending PSO return the windfall it received from the federal tax cuts to its customers,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The tax cut provides an opportunity for real savings for customers, especially during the summer months when energy usage rises along with the temperature. We hope the members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission complete their review as quickly as possible to benefit PSO customers.”

The attorney general’s staff estimates that if the recommendation is approved, residential customers would save an average of $23.85 over the rest of the year.