LaShauna Sewell, News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – OG&E has announced it will not disconnect service to customers during the month of August due to Oklahoma's record-breaking heat wave.

According to Oklahoma Corporation Commission rule, Oklahoma electric utilities must refrain from disconnecting service to residential customers anytime the forecasted temperature or temperature humidity index is 100 degrees or higher.

The electric company says instead of cutting off residential service to those who cannot pay their bills, it will work with customers who need some extra time.

"Because it's been so hot – over 100 degrees almost every day for the past month – we have not been disconnecting service," said OG&E spokesman Brian Alford. "And in the interest of public health and safety, we will not resume disconnects during August."

There are some exceptions. Alford says OG&E will disconnect service to commercial customers or residential customers who do not complete the contract-for services process within three business days. He also says customers will accumulate charges on their unpaid bills, which will be much higher because they're using their air conditioners more.

"We recognize that some of our customers will need more time to pay their electric bill, and we want to be as flexible as we can during the next few months. We will offer residential customers who have fallen behind on their bill up to six months to catch up."

Alford says OG&E will work with customers who qualify to create payment plans to meet their needs. OG&E also suggests customers take these additional steps to conserve energy and save money:

  • Raise air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature.
  • Use ceiling fans or portable fans to help cool your home.
  • Keep blinds and drapes closed, especially along south and west-facing walls.
  • Refrain from using electric ovens, electric clothes dryers, dishwashers etc.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Turn off or unplug any unnecessary electric equipment.
  • Customers with a smart meter can enroll at myogepower.com and gain access to information about their electric usage and projected cost.