OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – OG&E released its profits for 2022 and the number was shocking for many Oklahomans.
It climbed 18 percent from 2021, where the company saw $360 million in profits, to a staggering $439.5 million.
Over the past year, News 4 has interviewed dozens of Oklahomans concerned with the sharp climb on their utility bill.
“It would totally devastate our budget,” said one Oklahoman back in May of 2022.
Many people have found it hard to pay a bill they once could afford after multiple increases in one year.
Sean Voskuhl, AARP Oklahoma State Director, said he has tried to help elderly Oklahomans the best he can even with dwindling resources.
“There is a finite amount of money available,” said Voskuhl. “if you’re in a situation and can’t pay your bill, then it compounds month after month and then it becomes insurmountable and people are really struggling.”
OG&E stressed to News 4 that profits did not come from the added charges on customers bills but instead from a period of hotter-than-normal days, growing customer numbers, and capital investments.
The company said the spikes came as a result of fuel costs.
“Approximately 90% of the increase customers experienced is directly related to cost of fuel to generate electricity. Those costs do not impact OG&E’s profits,” an OG&E spokesperson said in a statement.
By law, utility companies cannot profit on fuel cost adjustments added to bills. The adjustments only allow the company to recoup costs lost on fuel prices during the year.
In 2022, the average residential customer has seen an increase of approximately $23.25 per month.
OG&E broke down where each cost added cost a customer’s bill came from below:
- March 2022 — interim fuel factor adjustment of $8.11 for the average residential customer
- July 2022 – general rate review $2.07 increase per month for the average residential customer, reflecting key grid investments to improve system reliability, resiliency, and security as well as increased assistance for our customers with low incomes.
- August 2022 – Winter Weather Event (Uri) securitization $3.34 per month for the average residential customer.
- October 2022 – Interim fuel factor adjustment of $9.73 for the average residential customer
- January 2023 – annual fuel cost adjustment of $5.46 for the average residential customer
Voskuhl said he finds it hard to believe $79 million in profits only came from those reasons given.
He said on top of rising utility bills, he has also been fighting potential legislation this session at the state capitol. SB1103 could lead to annual increases from OG&E through what’s called performance-based rates.
“It’s just unconscionable to think that saddling Oklahomans with another rate increase on top of what they’ve been through the last 18 months,” said Voskuhl. “There’s really no relief in sight and I think this is really a wakeup call. I think legislators or corporation commissioners, we need to find a way to help customers.”
PSO has similar legislation this session.