OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – According to the 4Warn forecast, single digit temperatures are headed to Oklahoma. The last time the metro saw winter weather that bitterly cold, people ended up paying for it for decades. Electric companies asked customers to recoup the cost to heat and power homes from the 2021 winter storms.
Oklahoma Natural Gas and OG&E, along with other metro power companies, asked customers to cover the cost of energy consumption and repairs. Both companies told KFOR they will be prepared if the winter weather turns extreme this season.
“Our preparations start in the fall before the freezing temperatures arrives,” said Aaron Cooper, corporate communications manager for OG&E. “We do cold weather checks of equipment at all our different facilities and make sure things are prepared and ready to go.”
The bitter cold led to a dramatic increase in demand for electricity and heating fuels, which forced utility companies to buy natural gas at a much higher price. The higher price has led to Oklahoma utility customers to face a nearly 30-year increase in their bills.
“What we’re seeing right now, there’s no concerns,” said Cooper. “We anticipate and expect our power generation fleet to fully power the grid. We do not expect anything like that at this point from what we’re seeing and when we’re prepared.”
Oklahoma Natural Gas sent KFOR a statement saying they too have prepared months in advance for winter weather.
“At Oklahoma Natural Gas, our top priority is delivering natural gas to our customers safely and reliably. Our work to secure natural gas supply to keep customers warm during the coldest days starts months before the winter. In fact, we buy natural gas in the summer, when prices are typically lower, and place the gas in storage. About 50% of our natural gas supply is stored before the winter season and temperatures drop. In addition, our team works throughout the year to maintain and make improvements to our pipeline systems, ensuring our customers can warm their homes and businesses during the winter weather.
Colder weather often means increased use of natural gas for customers. By following tips like sealing leaks around doors and windows and changing or cleaning their air filters, customers can help lessen the impact cold weather has on their monthly bills. For more energy tips, visit oklahomanaturalgas.com/energytips. As always, we encourage our customers to contact us if they need financial assistance at 800-664-5463.”
The AARP of Oklahoma has been asking the same questions. Sean Voskuhl, the state director of AARP Oklahoma, said no one wanted to see a repeat of 2021.
“Customers have had enough,” said Voskuhl. “We don’t want that situation happening again. I think it’s really important that we hold our utility companies accountable and know what steps they’re taking.”
Utility companies also recommended doing simple things like turning down the thermostat a few degrees, winterizing your home, and cleaning air filters to cut down on the monthly bill.