It’s the $4.5 billion question – who is profiting off last year’s historic surge in energy prices amid a February winter storm?
State regulators are asking utility companies to get specific in detailing who they were doing business with during the storm that sent temperatures plummeting, energy prices skyrocket and blackouts rolling.
“Part of doing this is to help the public,” said Brandy Wreath, the Director of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Public Utility Division.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric customers will be paying off the surging energy cost for the next 28 years.
But now, the Public Utility Division is in part asking utility companies who and how much was paid for natural gas, transportation, storage costs and penalties incurred.
“That would basically answer the question that we’ve seen quite a bit of ‘who got the money?’” Wreath said.
He said these numbers are typically allowed to be kept under wraps out of fear of disrupting the competitive bidding process.
“We don’t see that as an issue in this case because these were not things that were done on a competitive basis for the most part. a lot of these were emergency purchases on the federally traded over-the-counter market,” Wreath said.
The state’s 10 largest public utility companies were asked for the information. Both PSO and OG&E said they are reviewing the request and will respond ahead of the deadline.
Utility companies have 20 days to turn over the information or explain why they can’t.