Oklahoma Gas and Electric filed an application with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to recover the staggering fuel costs brought on by this month’s freezing temperatures.
The company hopes the plan will minimize the impact on customers’ electric bills.
OG&E said the cold temperatures led to a short supply of natural gas. As a result, spot prices exploded.
“We spent somewhere near $1 billion over those few days to keep fuel into our power plants and that far exceeded our fuel expenditures for all of 2020,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said.
Natural gas prices also affect electric customers. Natural gas is used to power the boilers, which create steam and operate the turbines at power plants.
If the company spends $1 on gas, Alford said $1 is then passed on to customers. With the high fuel costs, the typical recovery effort may prove to be too large a burden for customers.
The company is hoping for approval to do something it has never done before.
"This is an unprecedented step,” Alford said. “Typically, you recover those fuel costs over the course of a year, but in this case, we’re asking that we recover it over a 10-year period.”
If the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approves the plan, the company hopes to keep the residential fuel cost increase below 10 percent a month starting in April.
The company said February bills will likely be higher for customers, but the rise is related to increased usage during the extreme cold.
The company said in a statement that it plans to file its testimony in the proceedings within the next few weeks.