Hot summer's electric bills fuel Oklahoma City's budget

Last year's hot summer pumped more money into Oklahoma City's budget as high electric bills increased the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.'s franchise fee payments. More of the same could happen this year.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: August 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm •  Published: August 18, 2012
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Stubbornly high electric bills have been a hallmark of the past two record-setting summers in Oklahoma City. But at least a little bit of the money is filtering back to local public services.

The record heat and resulting expensive electric bills have shown up in increased franchise fee payments from the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to Oklahoma City, city budget figures show.

OG&E made nearly $2 million more in franchise fee payments to the city than had been projected in the fiscal year that ended June 30, city budget documents show.

“Last August, our franchise fees jumped 32 percent from OG&E from the year before. That's a sizable change,” city Budget Director Doug Dowler said. “That means, basically, residents in Oklahoma City were spending 32 percent more on electricity than they were (that month the previous year).”

Back into general fund

Franchise fee payments are what utility companies pay to use public rights of way when building and maintaining infrastructure. Each utility company has its own agreement with a city, which often includes other stipulations like a cable company providing a public access channel.

OG&E's franchise fees paid to Oklahoma City are based on what customers in the city pay on their bills.

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