In a land where wind, solar, and yes, oil-based energies are plentiful, it’s no big shocker that the corporations who control the harvesting of these things that naturally exist that we can use to power televisions and charge our cell phones also control the government. There are lobbyists that write bills for congress, and the industry has its tentacles wrapped around our politicians.
So of course, OG&E, the one electric and gas supplier that we’re all basically mandated to use, tried to push their weight, and according to this article from the Tulsa World, they didn’t get their way:
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter asked state regulators on Tuesday for a $32 million rate reduction for Oklahoma Gas and Electric customers.
OG&E, in a December filing, asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for an annual rate increase of nearly $78 million.
“After a careful, thoughtful review of the company’s filing, it is our determination that OG&E should reduce its rates by $32 million, rather than raise them,” said Hunter in a statement. “While we appreciate OG&E’s corporate citizenship and dedication to providing reliable service to customers, we believe the numbers submitted by the company are not supported by the data we reviewed.
“My team and I look forward to our continued work with OG&E to ensure the company remains financially viable, and that its customers receive reliable electric service at reasonable rates.”
This is incredibly surprising, especially coming from Mike Hunter, who is a holdover from the Fallin administration, replacing Scott Pruitt. Seriously though, OG&E was asking for $78 million/year more, and was told, “Actually, you need to make $32 million less.” I’m no Mathelete, but that sounds like a $100 million difference in expectations.
To ask for such an increase in rates from the citizens of Oklahoma, OG&E must have come under some hard financial times. Let’s check out a press release of their earnings from 2018 (the bold type added by me):
In 2018, OG&E, a regulated electric utility, reported net income of $328 million and contributed $1.64 per diluted share, compared with $306 million, or $1.53 per diluted share in 2017. OGE Energy Holdings, which is primarily Natural Gas Midstream Operations, received cash distributions from Enable Midstream of approximately $141 million and contributed earnings of $109 million, or $0.54 per diluted share in 2018, compared to earnings of $324 million, or $1.62 per diluted share in 2017. The holding company posted a loss of $12 million or $0.06 per diluted share in 2018, compared to $11 million or $0.05 per diluted share in 2017. Federal tax reform legislation passed in December of 2017 increased Enable Midstream earnings by $245 million or $1.23 per diluted share and decreased earnings at the holding company $11 million or $0.05 per diluted share due to the remeasurement of deferred taxes.
“2018 may well be regarded as the best year in our company’s history,” said OGE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Sean Trauschke. “I’m most proud of our record-breaking safety performance. It was among the best in the industry. Not only were employees setting safety records, they were busy completing critical, complex, yet very beneficial, projects for our customers. They delivered more renewables, added state-of-the art power generation, significantly reduced our emissions footprint, improved reliability and customer satisfaction, and kept customer rates 31 percent below the national average. These are once-in-a-generation accomplishments made possible by the hard work and dedication of every member of the OGE team.”
These fuckers made more money than they ever have as a company, and here they are trying to gouge everyone for more. I won’t give praise like this often, but good on AG Mike Hunter for stepping in and not allowing an energy monopoly to screw us over.