OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Thursday marked the first day of testimony at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on OG&E fuel cost fees.
Read OG&E’s full statement on how fuel costs impact customer bills here.
The utility said the added charge, also known as a Fuel Cost Adjustment, represents “under-collected” fuel costs the company has experienced due to inflation; the monthly fee will reflect on customer bills for the next two years to recoup the estimated cost of $424 million.
Previous KFOR reporting confirmed that it is against Oklahoma law for utility companies to profit from fuel cost adjustments under OCC regulations.
Rather, the charges must be the “actual cost” of rising fuel prices.
“We know customers count on us and recognize our responsibility to serve them by providing reliable and resilient electric service while working to keep bills at the lowest cost possible. We understand rising inflation and increasing costs of goods, like natural gas, create financial pressures for many customers. We are working to manage the increasing costs of fuel supply and we continue to provide payment assistance programs to customers who need help. We offer programs to help customers manage their energy bills and usage.”OG&E ENERGY CORP.
The company said the strategy to recover hundreds of millions of dollars through fuel cost fees is necessary, as it reflects the sharp rise in the market over the last year around the country and in the state.
During Thursday’s meeting, the utility’s Managing Director Regulatory Policy and Compliance said the shift in the fall rather than earlier in the year reflected an effort to minimize the impact on the customer, and to reduce customers bills overall, in the fall.
We were hopeful summer gas prices would moderate and there would be less volatility in the latter half of 2022. Additionally, customer bills are typically highest in the summer and that was particularly true this summer with upwards of 20 days of 100+ degree heat. Adjusting fuel at a time when bills are lower, like October, impacts customer monthly budgets less.OG&E ENERGY CORP.
Previously, OG&E said customers bills were going up to account for higher natural gas and coal prices, but the fuel cost adjustment fee is already reflected monthly on customer bills.
However, folks are still concerned about the rate that costs are going up and how that impacts families and businesses.
The utility said customers can go to OGE.com/pricingoptions for more information on pricing options tha to help determine bill amounts.
Some customers may qualigy for the federal LIHEAP program administered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services receive as much as a $13 credit on their monthly bill, to account for an increase of $3 per month as a result of OG&E’s last rate review.
An Oklahoma energy profile from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier this year documented that Oklahoma ranks 10th in energy use per capita, while producing three times more energy than it consumes because it is a high crude oil and natural gas producing state.