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AERO Calls for Moratorium on Electricity Rate Increases

Oklahoma now ranks just 21st in the nation for affordable electricity

TULSA – Alliance for Electrical Restructuring in Oklahoma (AERO) Executive Director Mike Boyd today called on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to issue a moratorium on any future electricity rate hikes, as Oklahoma continues to see alarming across-the-board electricity price increases. According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Oklahoma residential consumers saw their electricity bills increase at a rate of 19 percent from Sept. 2021 to Sept. 2022. While Oklahoma ranked six in the nation for most affordable residential electricity prices in 2021, that ranking has now plummeted to 21st. “The rate hikes we are experiencing in Oklahoma outpace the rate hikes we have seen in other states, including in neighboring Texas and Arkansas,” said Boyd. “The explanations we have received to this point don’t make sense. Our monopoly utilities tell us that natural gas prices are to blame, but natural gas prices went up in every state in the country and those states are not experiencing the rate shocks we are in Oklahoma. The utilities tell us the 2021 winter storm is to blame, but Texans and Arkansans have both made out better than Oklahomans and they experienced the same storm. There is something uniquely wrong with how electricity is being priced in this state, and our elected officials need to get to the bottom of it instead of rubber-stamping more price hikes paid for by Oklahoma families and businesses.” Boyd’s call for a moratorium on rate hikes comes as Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) has asked the Corporation Commission to approve a $14 per month increase on residential customers as well as increases on industrial and commercial users. If approved, PSO’s net revenue would increase by $173 million. Oklahoma’s other major utility, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) has requested its own “fuel cost adjustment” of approximately $424 million. Both of those rate hikes come in addition to the $1.4 billion in rate hikes already approved by the Corporation Commission for covering the cost of Winter Storm Uri. “Our system in Oklahoma is clearly broken,” said Boyd. “It is harmful to families and businesses, who are underwriting the cost of these endless rate hikes. There is also a moral hazard associated with using government-backed monopoly power to force Oklahomans to pay for these costs. In our monopoly system, ratepayers don’t have a choice. If they are unhappy with their electricity provider, all they can do is turn their lights off. That’s not the way we are supposed to do business in a 21st century economy.” Boyd said AERO is in the process of finalizing model legislation that would allow customers of OG&E and PSO to purchase electricity from other vendors. “The solution to controlling costs and supporting a vibrant market, as it has been in almost every other sector of our economy, is introducing choice and competition. Electricity monopolists make the same case against choice and competition that monopolists everywhere do: they tell us they are the only ones who are smart enough or capable enough to look out for our interests. As is also the case with monopolists everywhere, we can see the results: they have generated wealth for themselves at the expense of their customers.”





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