Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. said Thursday that low natural gas prices should lower the average residential customer's electricity bill by about $6 per month.
The reduction in the fuel-cost portion of customer bills will begin in the January billing cycle. The typical residential consumer uses about 1,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month.
“We're pleased to pass along this savings to our customers,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said in a statement. “We are fortunate from an electricity perspective to be in an extended period of lower natural gas prices, which makes it possible to deliver these savings on monthly electric bills.”
Alford said it's difficult to quantify the reduction to typical industrial and commercial consumers, but many should also see lower monthly bills.
Alford said OG&E's outlook for 2013 shows fairly stable natural gas prices, allowing the utility to use more natural gas to generate its electricity.
“Having a diverse mix of fuels is essential to managing costs,” Alford said. “Historically, natural gas has had the greatest price volatility when compared to coal and wind. As we look at the year ahead, we're not seeing dramatic increases in natural gas prices, providing the opportunity to use more natural gas-fired generation in the near term.”
OG&E generated about 56 percent of its electricity from coal, 38 percent from natural gas and 6 percent from wind in 2012.
Tulsa-based Public Service Co. of Oklahoma normally adjusts its fuel costs at the end of May, said Stan Whiteford, spokesman for the utility.
“We don't have any plans to make any changes in fuel-cost charges at this time,” Whiteford said.
Oklahoma Natural Gas, the state's largest natural gas utility, said its fuel-cost charge will increase by 12 cents per dekatherm beginning Jan. 7. The new fuel charge will be $5.05 per dekatherm. ONG adjusts its fuel-cost charges each quarter, said spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard.
Ballard said ONG tries to balance its fuel costs with customer demand. The increase came from higher costs the utility incurred in the last quarter.
Under Oklahoma Corporation Commission rules, utilities are not allowed to profit on the fuel-cost portion of customer bills. Fuel costs include the price of fuel, transport and storage costs, as well as contract fees to ensure supply.