Bills could rise from ice storm

Friday, March 14th 2008, 6:01 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

Because of the December ice storm, customers could be paying more for their electric bill in the near future.

The December 2007 ice storm knocked out power to thousands across the metro and the state. Even if you went for days, or weeks without power, you're still going to pay.

"Under the law, utility companies are allowed to recoup the costs that they have to recoup to continue offering safe and reliable service," said Matt Skinner of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

That means if you are an American Electric Power/Public Service Company of Oklahoma customer you can expect to see a change on your electric bill in the coming months.

AEP/PSO claims to have lost about $70 million due to the December ice storm. The company has already taken its case to the state's corporation commission.

"Under the formula that would result in a charge, not a rate increase of about one dollar and 40 cents for the average residential customer per month," Skinner said.

Spokesperson for Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Brian Alford, said OG&E has taken a $36 million hit from the ice storm.

"A little less than we had expected but still a very costly storm," Alford said. "We will likely seek to recover those costs in our next general rate case which we expect in 2009."

Alford said OG&E has gone through this before.

"We reached an agreement with the commission to create a mechanism to allow us to record those costs and recover them at a future date," Alford said.

So OG&E customers won't see an increase until 2010, and not until the corporation commission gives the OK.

Now AEP/PSO is also seeking to recover $12.6 million in damages from the January ‘07 ice storm, but that will not result in a change to customer's bills.

PSO customers likely won't see that dollar forty increase until October.