OG&E Will Have To Pay Customers A Rate Refund
OKLAHOMA CITY - Good news for OG&E customers, the company will soon be paying you. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) denied a large portion of a proposed rate increase this week and OG&E will have to refund some of what customers already paid.
If the OCC would have allowed the full increase, OG&E says the average bill would have gone up about $7 a month. Now they should be about $.72.
OG&E says they have invested more than $1.5 billion in their system and that's why they needed to collect another $92.5 million dollars from customers .
“We want to insure we continue to provide reliability, great customer service and maintain what is the lowest rates in the country,” said Brian Alford.
That included not only a rate increase, but an increase in charges to your bill.
“It’s a new funding scheme to charge customers more,” said Sean Voskuhl, AARP’s State Director.
AARP led the fight against the hike and says they're mostly pleased the OCC not only denied those extra charges, but only allowed $8.9 million of the proposed increase. In addition, OG&E has to refund $69 million they've already collected, beginning May 1.
Alford says they don’t know how much the refund will be on our bill. But the AARP says they don't believe OG&E should have been able to collect it in the first place and is trying to change the state law that allows it.
“This ability for a utility to charge anything they want for an interim rate, just because the commission hasn’t ruled on their order within six months, has really gone haywire and it’s gotten outrageous,” said Voskuhl.
OG&E argues they can't wait for commissioners to make a decision when they have already invested the money.
“We need to be in a position to recover those dollars. The proceeding was taking well more than 180 days prescribed by law,” said Alford.
OG&E has already announced it will ask for another rate hike at the end of the year.