AARP Oklahoma applauded Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners Dana Murphy, Bob Anthony and Patrice Douglas for approving a settlement in the OG&E rate case that will result in a residential utility rate decrease and significant consumer protections.
See Also: Affordable Utilities Now
Corporation Commissioners unanimously approved the settlement under which OG&E residential customers will receive an average nine cent rate decrease per month instead of the utility company’s requested increase of $6.60 per month. OG&E had initially asked for a rate increase that would have amounted to $73.3 million.
AARP was a party to the rate case and helped negotiate the settlement.
Watch a video about the settlement.
“We commend Corporation Commissioners for approving this settlement because it protects residential consumers from a rate increase while at the same time adding consumer protections,” said AARP Oklahoma Executive Council Member Barney Allen who provided comments on behalf of the association during the rate case hearing. “AARP members across the state sent a strong message that in these uncertain economic times, an electric rate increase would have hurt older Oklahomans.”
The settlement approved will:
- Maintain financial support for low income customers and requires OG&E to work with the Department of Human Services to study other means-tested enrollment criteria for potential expansion of these programs
- Require OG&E to track and report appropriate data of its Smart Grid deployment to determine operational and cost benefits to be provided to customers
- Revise OG&E’s tariff language to update policies regarding use and access to customer data. The ownership and use of Smart Meter Data will be addressed by the commission in a separate proceeding
- Require a study and report from an outside expert on a potential Peak Time Rebate pricing program including those that pay a credit for reduced consumption as opposed to programs that charge a higher rate
- Adds significant consumer protections to customers participating in OG&E’s Prepay Pilot program
AARP, which advocates on utility issues on behalf of 50+ Oklahomans, announced its opposition to the rate increase request in 2011, Allen said. Hundreds of AARP members signed petitions asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to reject OG&E’s original request that would have raised the monthly customer charge from $13 to $19.77.
Surveys commissioned by AARP last year indicated nearly half of Oklahomans 50+ had difficulty paying their monthly utility bills and 43% said their electric bill had gone up in the past 12 months.