Tulsa – Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers (OIEC), an association of large energy users located in Oklahoma, on Monday (September 25) filed testimony with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in response to Public Service Company Of Oklahoma’s (PSO) request for an approximate $150 million rate hike. A release from OIEC described the PSO request as one of the largest rate increases ever applied for in state history. The release characterized the requested rate increase as “unjustified.”
According to Tom Schroedter, executive director and general counsel of OIEC, PSO’s rate hike, if approved, will increase rates for PSO customers by over $100 million more than is necessary and justified to provide electric service.
“If approved, the $150 million rate hike requested by PSO will cause rate shock for PSO’s customers and will hinder economic development and job growth in those areas of the state served by PSO,” Schroedter noted.
“Oklahoma needs to remain competitive with its electric rates to continue to attract new business and grow existing companies. PSO’s increase will deter Oklahoma businesses from making new investments as PSO’s rate hike will cause the transfer of capital from Oklahoma businesses and other ratepayers to PSO’s parent company’s shareholders.”
OIEC’s review of PSO’s testimony and economic analysis concluded that the company’s rate hike request, “which closely follows a previous rate increase award in December of last year, is ill-conceived and imprudent. To protect Oklahoma’s industrial customers from PSO’s largely unsubstantiated rate hike, OIEC filed the testimony of four expert witnesses who urged the Commission to adopt over $100 million of downward adjustments to PSO’s requested revenue requirement increase.”
Adjustments recommended by OIEC experts include a $19 million adjustment resulting from OIEC’s recommended and nine percent return on equity, a $33 million adjustment resulting from OIEC’s modifications to PSO’s proposed depreciation rates, and an approximate $65 million worth of investment and expense adjustments.
OIEC represents industrial and other large consumers of energy whose members employ tens of thousands of Oklahomans. According to this week’s release, “the organization works for just and reasonable rates for OIEC member companies. OIEC has been active on behalf of industrial and other large consumers of energy for more than 20 years.”
About Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers: “Oklahoma Industrial Energy Consumers is an unincorporated association of companies with facilities in Oklahoma that require significant energy usage. OIEC’s objective is to secure the lowest reasonable cost energy and the most efficient and reliable energy services for our members. Members need an advocate to ensure lowest reasonable utility rates, and OIEC is their voice. OIEC is actively involved in rate proceedings and related matters at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the state legislature and is a proven leader in addressing energy policies relating to the electric and gas industries.”