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Electric Utilities Regulation in Oklahoma: An AARP Survey of Oklahomans

Although a bill was enacted in Oklahoma in 1997 to allow electric deregulation to begin by 2002, the legislation has not yet been implemented. Some believe that deregulation will bring lower rates and better service to everyone, while others argue that Oklahoma's electric utility rates are already among the lowest in the nation and therefore unlikely to go down more.

This survey of 800 Oklahoma adults age 50 and older found that

  • they are divided on how strongly they support or oppose electric utility deregulation, with 25 percent strongly opposing deregulation, 16 percent strongly supporting it, and 18 percent uncertain
  • 80 percent of those supporting electric utility deregulation say they would oppose it if they had to pay additional charges to cover the costs of deregulation while 78 percent would do so if deregulation resulted in less reliable service
  • 48 percent say their monthly electric bills have stayed the same over the past three years, and 40 percent say they have gone up
  • 74 percent think that it is very important to retain their current consumer protections if they were to switch electric companies
  • 48 percent say it is very or somewhat important to have a choice among electric providers while 47 percent say it is not very or not at all important

The random telephone survey was conducted between January 27 and February 5, 2003 by Woelfel Research, Inc. Joanne Binette of AARP Knowledge Management analyzed the data and wrote the report, and may be contacted at 202/434-6303 for further information. (13 pages)

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