OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Oklahomans are trimming household expenses for the necessary items like food and medicine in order to pay for electricity according to a new survey.

The study conducted by LendingTree found 42% of Oklahoma households have sacrificed to pay to keep the lights on.

Only three states have a higher percentage of residents tightening their financial belts, those include West Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas.

Compare that to the summer of 2021 when Oklahoma had one of the lowest rates in the country.

Now, the Sooner State has fallen to 16th place according to Choose Energy.

At the same time, many Oklahoma utility customers are questioning the securitization law that requires Oklahoma utility customers to reimburse the state’s three major utility companies over 2.8 Billion dollars.

That stems from the extreme cost of fuel during the February 2021 winter storm.

“We care about our customers and understand increasing energy costs and surging inflation present a challenge for some of our customers, families and businesses alike. We have a long track record of providing affordable rates and program offerings to help customers manage both their monthly bill and energy usage,”

Aaron Cooper, Corporate Communications Manager, OG&E

Cooper sent KFOR a list of assistance programs for Oklahomans in need.

  • Customers with questions about their bill or our cost-saving programs, as well as those needing assistance, are encouraged to call 1-800-272-9741.  
  • To help customers save money and better predict costs, OG&E offers several cost-saving, energy-efficiency programs, as well as billing options, to provide more consistent bills each month.  
  • Customers with household incomes of $60,000 or less can sign up for no-out-of-pocket home weatherization services at oge.com/weatherization and several home energy efficiency programs are available to all customers, including air conditioner tune-ups at oge.com/escore.  
  • To have more control of their bills during extreme temperatures and ensure a more consistent and predictable bill each month, customers can sign up for Average Monthly Billing at oge.com/amb or Guaranteed Flat Bill at oge.com/gfb.  
  • OG&E also connects customers to social service agencies that may help with bill assistance. For example, low-income qualified customers can receive a $13-per-month credit on their monthly bill for 24 months through the LIHEAP program managed by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS).” 

News 4 contacted Public Service Company or PSO for a response to the high energy prices impacting our state.

Nobody – including Public Service Company of Oklahoma — is happy about the price of energy in America today. The high cost of natural gas, a critical fuel in generating electricity, is driving those costs. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average natural gas price for electrical generation in the United States in August was $9.32 per thousand cubic feet. That price has more than doubled in one year and nearly quadrupled from two years ago (In August 2021, the average was $4.45 per thousand cubic feet and in August 2020, the national average was $2.50).

PSO has taken substantial steps to protect its customers from those high fuel costs by diversifying our fuel mix. The recently completed the North Central Energy Facilities will produce enough fuel-free energy to supply 440,000 homes and will save our customers $1 billion over the first 30 years. We intend to continue expanding our renewable energy portfolio as a hedge against higher prices to our customers.

PSO is sensitive to the cost concerns of our customers and is eager to help them keep their energy usage as low as possible through weatherization assistance, incentives, rebates and conservation information.

We also offer programs to help customers level out their energy costs over time and to assist customers who are struggling with their energy bill.

No one should take unsafe steps to reduce their energy costs, and we urge any customers facing difficult choices to contact our customer service department at 1-833-PSO-POWR (776-7697) or visit psoklahoma.com/assistance.

Wayne Greene, Public Service Company of Oklahoma