OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As temperatures dipped to arctic levels in February, heaters were going full blast across the Midwest.
That led to huge spikes in energy usage and costs for Oklahoma ratepayers.
Now, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to make sure that Oklahomans won’t struggle to pay for the increase in utility bills.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma Senate advanced measures aimed at helping ratepayers manage those energy costs.
Senate Bill 1049 and Senate Bill 1050 both allow utility customers to lower their monthly utility bill costs associated with the winter storm and stretch the time period for paying those costs, said Sen. James Leewright.
“These bills protect consumers,” said Sen. Roger Thompson, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This is a bold move by the Legislature for the people of Oklahoma.”
Without legislative action, Leewright said ratepayers who normally see an average bill of $100 likely would see their first month’s bill for the February storm costs reach approximately $1,900. He said ratepayers’ second bill with February storm costs could be another $1,500. February storm costs would remain on ratepayers’ bills in smaller, declining amounts for the next several months.
“Oklahoma ratepayers face dramatic and immediate increases in their utility and energy bills due to the February winter storm. Securitization is the best option available to provide relief for families and small businesses in the form of lower monthly payments over an extended period of time. I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate for their consideration and support of these important measures. I look forward to the Oklahoma House taking up these measures and sending them quickly to the governor’s desk to be signed into law,” Leewright said.
Now, the measures are heading to the Oklahoma House of Representatives.