In light of July's record heat, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. announced it will not disconnect residential service for nonpayment of electric bills in August.
The company also plans to work with customers who are having trouble paying their bills.
“Because it's been so hot – over 100 degrees almost every day for the past month – we have not been disconnecting service,” OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said. “And in the interest of public health and safety, we will not resume disconnects during August.”
He said all charges will continue to accumulate on customer bills, which will be much higher as a result of greater air conditioner use.
“We recognize that some of our customers will need more time to pay their electric bill, and we want to be as flexible as we can during the next few months,” Alford said. “We will offer residential customers who have fallen behind on their bill up to six months to catch up.”
The moratorium does not apply to commercial customers.
By Oklahoma Corporation Commission rule, Oklahoma electric utilities must refrain from disconnecting service to residential customers anytime the forecast temperature or temperature humidity index is 100 degrees or higher.
“We're taking this added step to help put our customers' minds at ease during this difficult time,” Alford said. “Like everyone, we're hoping the heat will loosen its grip to give our great employees and equipment some time to recover from the stress and strain this summer has placed on them.”
OG&E will work with qualifying customers to create payment plans that help meet their needs.
Many customers also can benefit from participating in OG&E's average monthly billing, guaranteed flat bill programs, or time of use rate plans, visit oge.com.
Customers also can take additional steps to conserve energy:
Move the thermostat up a few degrees; doing so will help save 3 percent to 4 percent on monthly bills for every degree it's raised.
Use fans for air circulation, which can help make a room feel several degrees cooler.
Keep blinds and drapes closed.
Avoid cooking or drying clothes during the heat of the day.
Customers with a new smart meter can sign up at myogepower.com to receive cost and usage information unique to their home.