Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Corporation Commission discussed the cost issues with representatives from the state's two major power companies and the Department of Environmental Quality.

Next month, the DEQ will find out if the EPA has accepted the state's plan to keep using low sulfur coal and then switch to using natural gas at the state's power companies by the year 2026, or if the EPA will force them to purchase very expensive scrubbers by 2012. If the EPA rejects the state's plan and mandates the scrubbers, it would cost the power companies between $1 billion and $2 billion.

So what does that mean to you and me?

  • It could mean a 10 percent to 20 percent increase to your utility bill.
  • OG&E said customers could see a rate hike of $13 a month.
  • PSO estimates an increase of $10 to $12 per month.
  • And then there's the cost to the state's large industrial facilities.

"We are very concerned about it," said Tom Schroedter, OIEC Executive Director.

Schroedter represents many of the state's large manufacturers including Kimberly Clarke, Valero, Conoco-Phillips and Air Liquide. Schroedter said the possible rate hike would cost those major employers more than $1 million.

"We could see plant shutdowns, relocations and loss of jobs," said Schroedter. "This is not a health issue. This is purely an aesthetic issue. We need to be involved in this discussion."

The EPA is requiring all states to develop plans to reduce haze, or smog, so that air around national parks and wildlife areas stays clear. This comes after a group in News Mexico sued the EPA to do just that.

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