The last time rates were adjusted for Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. was in 2009, based on 2008 costs. It's now 2012 and OG&E has accepted a settlement in the latest rate case, which had sought about $73 million based on 2010 costs.
The utility didn't get anywhere near the amount sought, but it also didn't get the rate decrease that its rate case opponents were seeking.
At no time in the course of a year is electricity more appreciated than now. It's hot and getting hotter. We want our power to be reliable as well as affordable. A regulated utility's job is to ensure the former while juggling the latter.
OG&E's power is relatively cheap, about 20 percent below the national average. The company sought a rate increase to recover more than $500 million of investments to improve system reliability. Instead of $73 million, the settlement will give the company a paltry $4 million.
Rate case opponents are claiming victory, but we suspect this will be short-lived. Regulated utilities have a right — and an obligation — to raise rates when conditions warrant. The settlement only defers the day of reckoning.