AARP Oklahoma is fighting against Oklahoma Gas and Electric’s (OG&E) attempt to pass along $750 million worth of its mistakes to customers for decades to come and calling on Oklahomans to also raise their voices and fight back. During the February 2021 major winter storm, the wholesale cost of natural gas quickly increased from a couple of dollars per MMBtu (a unit traditionally used to measure energy value) to several hundred dollars per MMBtu. The price even rose into the thousands at one point. Most Oklahomans were unaware of the soaring price of natural gas, and none were given the option to avoid these charges.
In OG&E’s filing with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, AARP Oklahoma was surprised to learn:
- OG&E failed to take steps to prepare for the storm
- OG&E failed to use some of their own gas supplies and instead purchased wildly expensive gas on the open market
- OG&E failed to notify customers of the extent of the impact on their bills
Throughout the securitization process, AARP Oklahoma has advocated to ensure only prudent and reasonable costs are passed on to consumers to limit the rate increase to residential customers.
“We are fighting to ensure OG&E takes financial responsibility for its actions leading up to and through the weather event,” said AARP Oklahoma State Director Sean Voskuhl. “OG&E knew this weather event was likely. OG&E did not use all of its gas in storage and kept a high number of generation units offline for maintenance, all contributing to the spending frenzy.”
Voskuhl also warned against a back door attempt by OG&E to move more of the cost allocation of the weather event recovery to residential customers and away from large industrials users.
“It is unfortunate that when OG&E’s customers need them to play fair the most, they are using the securitization process to provide sweetheart deals to a few of their large customers at the expense of hundreds of thousands of residential customers,” said Voskuhl.
Many older Oklahomans live on fixed or limited incomes and depend on reliable and affordable electric and natural gas services for security, health, and wellbeing.
AARP Oklahoma encourages its nearly 400,000 members and all OG&E customers to contact the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at https://action.aarp.org/stopthehike or call 1-844-981-1701
and share how the proposed $750 million rate increase will affect them.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment.