OKLAHOMA (KFOR) – Oklahoma utility customers are questioning the Securitization Law that requires Oklahomans to reimburse the state’s three major utility companies.
The Securitization Law would require Oklahomans to reimburse those companies $2.8 billion over the next 28 years.
This stems from a February 2021 winter storm that sent temperatures plunging and energy costs soaring as the nation was under a polar storm.
Oklahoma law does allow for utility companies to be reimbursed for purchasing fuel at whatever price those companies paid for it.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric responded to the recent backlash regarding the law in a statement.
“OG&E is committed to providing the life-sustaining and life-enhancing electricity our customers need. During Winter Storm Uri, OG&E was especially concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our customers. While temperatures were dangerously low for an extended period of time, ensuring reliable power to the communities we serve was critical to keeping homes heated.
OG&E uses natural gas to power a large part of our power-generating fleet, as do most electric companies in the U.S. Because OG&E was able to procure fuel for our power plants during the storm, we kept the heat and lights on for our customers and helped supply power to the SPP grid. This meant Oklahoma was able to avoid the fate of states like Texas that experienced sustained blackouts for upwards of two weeks due to power generation and grid failure, extremely high electric bills in the tens of thousands of dollars for residents and significant loss of life.
In spring of 2021, Oklahoma lawmakers created and approved the securitization law, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued an order approving the sale of the bonds after the Administrative Law Judge found OG&E costs to be prudent, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court ultimately ruled the entire process was constitutional and could proceed. While OG&E was not involved in the legislative process that resulted in the securitization of Winter Storm Uri debt, we appreciate Oklahoma lawmakers’ efforts to minimize the immediate and sustained financial impact for customers related to the winter storm.
OG&E and its peer electric companies in the state cannot profit from fuel purchases. The price the company pays for fuel to generate electricity is the price our customers pay on their bills. We will continue to work on behalf of our customers to secure the lowest cost fuel available and deliver reliable electricity at the lowest possible cost.“
According to OG&E, they had limited input in the draft Securitization Bill. However, they say they were not provided the bill language until it was finalized.
“OG&E had limited input on the draft securitization bill; however, we were not provided the bill language until it was finalized. From the moment OG&E knew that Winter Storm Uri caused extraordinary costs, we sought ways to mitigate the impacts to customers. Securitization was an effective way to reduce the impact on the average customer’s monthly bill.”OG&E