Open Letter to OG&E Chairman Sean Trauschke…

On Monday morning, OG&E Chairman and C.E.O. Sean Trauschke sent a letter to all the utility’s customers thanking them for being patient while the company dropped the ball on its response to the powerline-crippling Great Oklahoma Ice Storm of 2020.

The letter (full copy here) was about as corporate and arrogant as you’d expect a letter from OG&E would be. I can only imagine how many drafts, revisions, and – due to the size and magnitude of the ice storm – brave out-of-state PR contractors it took to put the thing together.

Naturally, the letter doesn’t apologize for – or even acknowledge – the company’s seemingly caught off-guard, poorly-communicated response to the ice storm. It also doesn’t specifically explain why so many tree limbs, which the company is supposed to keep away from power lines, caused so much damage.

It did, however, appeal to the mythos of the Oklahoma Standard:

Even under daunting conditions and facing extensive damage, we witnessed the Oklahoma Standard in action. Thousands came together from across the nation with a singular goal of restoring power safely.  Neighbors helped neighbors and community organizations, working through United Way of Central Oklahoma, mobilized resources to help families and individuals in need — truly a model for the country.

If you ask me, the real Oklahoma Standard here is that whenever an ice storm hits the Oklahoma City metro, hundreds of thousands of residents have to go days, if not weeks or more, without power, and OG&E and their politicians don’t seem to want to do anything about it.

As a result, I’ve decided to write an open letter to OG&E CEO Sean Trauschke. Who knows? Thanks to our large and popular platform, maybe he’ll actually read the thing, call a board meeting, and then direct his company to take steps that will prevent such massive power outages from affecting customers when the next once in a generation weather event hits the metro in a couple of years or so.

Hahaha. I’m just kidding, but I guess it’s worth a shot. Check this out:

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To whom it may concern, which based on the time it took OG&E to restore power to 25% of our city, is apparently no one…

Wait. That’s probably not the best way to get Mr. Trauschke to read the letter or take action. Let me start over, and take the traditional “I’m a long time customer” flattery intro route. Let’s try again…

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Dear Honorable Mr. Trauschke,

Before we start, I’d like to say that just like my parents, grandparents, and my many other Oklahoma ancestors before me, I am a long-time, bill-paying customer of OG&E. In fact, it’s the power company I’ve counted on to fulfill my electric needs for my entire life!

Granted, none of that’s been by choice because OG&E is a “regulated” NYSE-traded utility monopoly that I’m forced to use for electric services, but I figured it’s worth mentioning. Additionally, I keep my house cold in the summer, leave a lot of lights on at night, and get tagged with frequent late fees because I always forget to pay my bill. Basically, when you go off my energy consumption per square foot, I’m an all-star customer doing my best to keep OG&E a large and profitable corporation!

On that note, I should also acknowledge you’ve done a good job as CEO. Well, at least for the shareholders! Sure, the stock has taken a hit since the pandemic panic back in the spring, but in 2019, the company made $433,000,000 in net income. That’s impressive. Just think of all the tree limbs you could cut down with that much money?!

Anyway, I know running a public corporation is a complicated business and beyond the layman’s understanding, which is why you make millions of dollars a year and can afford to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t deal with power outages. I’m also appreciative of the efforts of the badasses who get out and fix the lines. They’re braver than I’ll ever be. And yes, there is a pandemic going on at the moment.

With all that being said, and as one of the hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans who has lost power for weeks following an ice storm, I have one question for you –

WHAT THE F*CK, MAN!?!!

Seriously, why and how did it take so long to restore power? I went 9 days without it and felt like one of the lucky ones! Double also, why did the company suck so bad at communicating when power would be restored to customers? Just like Kevin Stitt having to deal with the pandemic, OG&E came off as totally unprepared and caught off guard! For a big billion-dollar corporation, that’s unacceptable.

Yes, Oklahoma weather is a pain in the ass, but guess what – we know Oklahoma weather is a pain in the ass! That, along with sports teams, conservatism and teenage pregnancy, is one of the only things we’re known for! We know it’s going to happen! Be prepared for it! It’s time for your company to listen to its customers and take aggressive steps to ensure fewer power outages the next time a tornado, ice storm, or even an inland-freaking-hurricane rolls through the heartland.

For example, I know you say burying all the power lines is cost-prohibitive and would cost the average customer something conveniently absurd like $300 a month, but maybe we don’t need to bury all the power lines. Also, maybe you could use your lobbyists to beg for some state or federal assistance to help pay for it. It does seem like a good infrastructure improvement project.

If that doesn’t work, you could also try maybe keeping trees farther away from powerlines. Novel idea, huh? That may cut a bit into those profits that your out-of-state shareholders and financial institutions hold so near and dear to their heart, but then again, maybe not as people will lose power the next time an ice storm rolls through, something that costs both customers and OG&E money.

But those are just my off-the-cuff, simpleton blogger ideas. You’re a smart dude with a lot of degrees. I’m sure you and your teams can figure out better plans and ideas that will put OG&E customers first, and prevent future widespread outages in the future, all while keeping rates low and affordable!

Hahaha. I’m just kidding again. We know that won’t happen. I look forward to writing another letter to you following the next once in a generation ice storm in a couple of years.

Sincerely yours,

– Patrick

Lifelong OG&E Customer

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38 Responses


  1. Wow, what a totally assholic response to the corporate letter.

    I like it.


  2. Hey, apply for a lineman job and find out. The call center people are taking information, they have no clue where crews are at and what they are facing. If people have problem going a week or two because of serve destruction, have a plan. Any estimations of restore time is joke. If you think any utility thinks it fun to have customers off your a sick person. Oh, the business side, if you think running a utility for a 8 to 3 percent returns apply for management position.


    1. thank you Jeff…sounds like the jackass who wrote that letter has
      never been off of a paved road….welcome to the real world, dude.., shit happens,
      Just ask a lineman how much fun that was!!!


      1. Let’s be clear: at times like these, linemen are real heroes doing difficult and dangerous work in hazardous, freezing conditions.

        At times like these, OG&E call center workers deserve combat pay. The mess isn’t their fault, but they still have to endure the customers’ wrath.

        Meanwhile, all is well in the Executive Suite. They keep busy writing silly stuff they think will make the customers love them again, but their product only shows how clueless they really are.


    2. Jeff,

      This is such an ignorant, victim-complex douchebag response. Here’s the reality: OG&E – and specifically their leadership – sought to mitigate expenses at the cost of mitigating risk, and they lost. Period, end of story. Spare me your whiny, persecuted response. Of course, the pain is shifted to the client-facing personnel and repair folks. None of that transfers up the chain into the executive suite, nor does it cause any pain within their compensation or EBITDA.

      So, a little tip: Sit in the executive leadership meetings, walk through the budgeting process, and understand why any business assumes risk, especially a utility. And if you think their preparation, response, and execution to a natural disaster is bad, you should ask them about their approach & strategy is to cybersecurity.

      Finally, the ignorance of your post underscores your intelligence. You’re* the demographic for which the CEO’s letter was targeted, as you’ve proven you’ll believe anything if it aligns with your internal biases.


    3. I will apply for a management position! Mr. Trauschke made $6,447,313.00 in total compensation for 2019. (off a measly 3-8% return)


  3. Send it!! Do that for us!


  4. Last week I received a marketing letter from OG&E stating that for $6 per month I could receive an agreement that I would not be charged for replacing the rod and metal work that connects their line to my house and their meter…I nearly fainted…Not necessarily at the marketing itself which is at the very least, ballsy, but the speed at which they were able to put that marketing piece together and and send it to me after I just paid several hundred dollars to an electrician to get those very items replaced…If that kind of efficiency and attention to detail were placed on the recovery effort that left me without power in a large, modern city for a week, it would have been repaired much more quickly.


    1. I have gotten two from them in recent weeks…………AND I’M AN OEC CUSTOMER!!!!


      1. I got two of them also, and I’m on Edmond Electric. I’m not sure if this marketing is being done by OGE or some company using their name. Didn’t read it much.


    2. It’s a 3rd party subcontractor using the OG&E name and logo. Semi-shady. The timing is certainly in poor taste. Speaking as someone who’s had to install a new weatherhead after an ice storm (as you already know), unless you can pony up $600.00 or so, you might want to consider it (I believe there’s a study that shows that a significant portion of the population can’t handle a $500.00 emergency). I too, found it a little offensive and off putting, so I file 13’d it for the foreseeable future.


    3. That program has been in the works prior to the ice storm. The fact the mailer was sent after a large ice storm was merely coincidence.


      1. Well…Considering the timing, it would have looked much better to hold off a month or two, if that is the case.


  5. The real question is who is their PR/Ad agency? Guessing Saxum or Ackerman McQueen after reading that tone deaf outside of reality thinking.

    They at least sort of admitted they have outsourced their maintenance. Of course it was spun to convince the public that they brought people in from all over the country to fix their poorly maintained lines. Perhaps they should outsource upper management to someone who knows how to manage a utility as opposed to knowing which political palms to grease to maximize profits.

    Oh my bad, Shane works for the stockholders, not the ratepayers, so I guess he is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing. Let us not forget the “warranty” OGE is selling and taking a cut of the monthly premium to fix the things they say you are responsible for when there are power problems.


  6. Once you understand that the sole purpose of a public for-profit corporation is to enrich its shareholders, everything else becomes easy to understand.

    Someone like Mr. Trauschke, his fellow OG&E officers, and the OG&E board members all have a fiduciary duty to those shareholders only, and to no one else. Not even to long-time customers Ike Patrick. Profits always matter more than he does.

    The Corporation Commission supposedly represents the interests of OG&E customers. But that arrangement is subject to what is known as “regulatory capture,” in which the regulators have incentives to serve the interests of the regulated. Could that happen in Oklahoma?

    I am fortunate to receive my electricity from a fully socialist organization – a member-owned electric co-op. Its fiduciary duty is to its customers. Imagine that!

    I also “bank” at a member-owed credit union. Why doesn’t everyone?


    1. why would everyone want to be like you?????


      1. Paying lower electric rates and lower banking fees like me?

        I can’t imagine why anyone would want that.


    2. I happen to be making a tidy little profit from your “socialist”, electric, coop, only interested in their rate payers; and it’s tax free.

      https://www.municipalbonds.com/bonds/issue/386442TA5/

      thanks, comrade


      1. but that “profit” is such a bad thing…according to herr greychin…


        1. You misstate my position. Profit is good. It provides more capital for the work of the enterprise.

          What Herr Graychin says is bad is seeking profit über alles, especially for a monopoly like OG&E which is not subject to the discipline of the marketplace.


      2. Plowing some of that inherited mineral wealth into some municipal bonds, huh?


      3. Huggy:

        Your GRDA bonds are indeed issued by a classically socialist organization owned by the citizens of Oklahoma. Thank you for your financial support of socialism! 😀

        GRDA’s borrowing is tax-free to lenders like you as a government subsidy help to keep my electric rates low. (GRDA produces much of the power that my co-op delivers.)

        You deserve a fair rate of return on your fixed-income capital. There is nothing wrong with profit – it makes the world go round. What is wrong is pretending that the likes of OG&E are anything more than soulless, amoral profit-seeking machines.


        1. they provide jobs for Oklahomans!!
          damn thats socialistic, too!!! makes them amoral and soulless!!
          can’t wait to hear you hammer Continental resources and the so called “oligarch” Harold Hamm!!!


          1. My point seems to have gone over your head. The GRDA provides jobs too.


    3. TO: Parick
      FRUM: Mr. Trauschke, Bigg Bos of OGe

      Deer Parick:

      I have red yur leter. Let me eggsplain what the deel is.

      We have a verry smart bizness plan. Our plan is, we have many peeple who we sell electrisity too. Those peeple pay us very much mony. Then, we make a prophet, and this prophet, we give to our bosses, which we call “shairholders.” Evan tho you are a customer, the shairholder is moore important than you.

      Go fuck yurself,
      signed Mr. Trauschke


      1. Mr. T gets it. He learned all this while getting his MBA at the U of South Carolina, reinforced at the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.


  7. You should do a similar letter for Cox, seeing as though we are charged a monthly subscription even when we don’t have service instead of usage based billing.


    1. Call and complain. Often an outfit like Cox will give you a small credit just to shut you up.

      Better still, call and threaten to cancel your service by moving to Dish or DirecTV. Cox will transfer your call to a specialist whose only job is to bribe you into keeping your service.


  8. Over three weeks without phone service because I refuse to buy a cell phone. Wonder if Donny the Loser has any paper towel rolls left.


    1. Have you considered cancelling your landline phone service and replacing it with a cellphone? More and more people are giving up landline service completely.


  9. It’s cute that you think OG&E has a legal obligation to keep lines clear. Nah fam, they lobbied that away years ago. No if you want to keep your power on, you have to trim your own trees. But if you drop a limb on a line, you’re surely going to get charged by OG&E for the damages.

    To all the Derplahomans dishing on Patrick for being some entitled city-boy Snowflake: For starters, you’re not wrong in your assessment, but not for anything he wrote in this letter. Yes the linemen are heroes, and the call center folks are overworked and underpaid. That doesn’t mean however that one, or several, corner office asshats don’t need to be flayed for this. It’s corporate greed at its best. They are cutting corners and making us all pay for it.

    Patrick, one more thing. Burying lines in the metro will literally ONLY take 100+ years of MAPS level revenue generation. It’s simply not feasible.


    1. Our lines were “cleared” about 2 months before the ice storm. One guy from a contractor came through and marked trees. Another set of guys from another contractor came through and cut most of those trees. Then another person came from yet another contractor to check their work. I pointed out trees still totally involved with the main lines, but those trees on our block were not cut, even though trees on the blocks around were. It was all totally confusing to me. But, hey, jobs.
      And yes, it is ridiculous to call for the burying of lines in OKC. Might as well ask for fleet of hover cars.


  10. Every one of the C-suite inhabitants needs to be fired for their response to this storm. There was a segment on the news that stated that a lineman from Iowa said that OGE has terribly outdated equipment and was poorly maintained. Crappy utilities-it’s the Oklahoma Standard!


    1. Again, the C-suite inhabitants work for the shareholders – not the customers. They deserve bonuses!


  11. The $100 million question is why can residents never buy stock into utilities like OG&E and like the Turnpike Authority. It’s always my understanding that the utilities are always hidden under feeder corporations and bought and sold under those names, specifically as a deterrent to prevent residents from owning stocks in these companies.

    Point being that if more people owned stock in OGE, then it would be a lot easier to tell the CEO what to do. Just a thought.


    1. So, apparently, OGE is publicly traded, but the Turnpike Authority is privately traded. Makes you wonder how to get access as a state resident.


    2. Anyone can buy stock in OG&E. Just put your money down and take your chances.

      https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/OGE/

      The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is a different kind of animal. Like the GRDA, it is a classically socialist organization owned by the citizens of Oklahoma. Both plow their “profits” back into their own operations (unless the Legislature needs cash and takes some away).

      Both the OTA and the GRDA issue tax-free “municipal” bonds to finance things like more turnpikes or more electric generation. Those are not stock (equity) ownership. They pay a fixed interest rate and nothing more.


      1. Okies will pay a toll to drive down a road in our fair state but jeepers NO NEW TAXES you commie democrats when it comes to a penny or two increase in fuel tax to cover road upkeep.

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