Tulsa World

Session, hearing set

PSO is seeking cost increase to provide $700M for new investment­s

- MICHAEL DEKKER

A public comment session and a separate rate case hearing are scheduled later this month for an electrical cost increase sought by Public Service Company of Oklahoma.

PSO on April 30 announced it was seeking $700 million for new investment­s, including strengthen­ing the electrical grid and additional technology upgrades to provide customers with new service options.

PSO’s applicatio­n includes a request to increase the company’s annual revenue requiremen­t by $172.4 million, or about 10.67 percent overall, “to reflect new investment­s and increased costs,” the company said.

PSO said the result would be an increase in electricit­y prices for the typical residentia­l customer by “just over 1 cent” per kilowatt hour.

According to the U.S. Energy Informatio­n Administra­tion, the average U.S. home uses about 877 kilowatt hours per month. Using PSO’s figure, the increase would be about $9 per month extra for the average home.

The increase is on top of about $668 million in fuel costs PSO incurred during the winter blast in February. That amount — which has been lowered from an original estimate of $825 million — was compared to fuel costs typically in the $550 million to $600 million range for an entire year, PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford said. The company is seeking to recover the winter cold snap costs over up to a 20-year period.

AARP Oklahoma recently sent a postcard in the mail to its members, saying “PSO is trying yet again to raise your rates. Enough is enough.”

It is urging its members to contact the Oklahoma Corporatio­n Commission and tell members “now is not the time to raise rates!”

AARP is asking its members to contact the OCC at 1-844-2488226 or online at action.aarp.org/ no2pso.

“Utility bill increases can particular­ly burden older adults, many of whom live on fixed incomes and already stretch resources to pay for other basics,” the organizati­on said.

But PSO said in its news release that “If approved, the new rates will remain competitiv­e with state and regional averages and approximat­ely 24% below the national average.”

“At PSO, we’re committed to investing in a stronger, smarter and cleaner energy grid, and providing customers the highest quality, safe and reliable service they rely on to power their homes and businesses,” said Peggy Simmons, PSO president and chief operating officer.

“At the same time, we’re working to be efficient and to provide excellent power reliabilit­y at prices that remain significan­tly below national averages.”

Tulsa-based PSO serves about 562,000 customers, including about 400,000 in the Tulsa metro, as well as most of southwest and southeast Oklahoma.

A public Corporatio­n Commission comment session on the proposed rate increase is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Sept. 24.

A Corporatio­n Commission rate case hearing on its merits is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 28.

 ?? TULSA WORLD FILE ?? Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s Tulsa power station glows at dusk on the west bank of the Arkansas River in 2017. PSO is seeking $700 million for new investment­s, including strengthen­ing the electrical grid and additional technology upgrades.
TULSA WORLD FILE Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s Tulsa power station glows at dusk on the west bank of the Arkansas River in 2017. PSO is seeking $700 million for new investment­s, including strengthen­ing the electrical grid and additional technology upgrades.

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