Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

EIA Projects Higher Summer Electric Bills for Oklahoma

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

EIA Projects Higher Summer Electric Bills for Oklahoma

Article excerpt

The average Oklahoma household electric bill for June through August is expected to total $503, up 1.9 percent from last summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in its forecast for U.S. residential summer power bills.

The average U.S. household electric bill for June through August is expected to total $395, down 2.5 percent from last summer and the cheapest in four years, said Tancred Lidderdale, the EIA analyst who authored the brief.

Commercial electric prices will rise 8.4 percent in the west- south-central region, which includes Oklahoma, compared to last year, Lidderdale said. Industrial prices in the region are forecast to rise 3.4 percent, Lidderdale said. Slightly higher electricity prices are expected to be offset by a drop in electricity use to meet lower cooling demand due to forecast milder temperatures this summer compared to last year's hotter-than-normal summer, Lidderdale said.

Electricity rates change only when approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, said Brian Alford, spokesman for Oklahoma Gas & Electric.

Neither the Oklahoma City-based utility nor Tulsa-based Public Service Company of Oklahoma has a rate case pending. PSO is an affiliate of Ohio-based American Electric Power. Together, the two utilities serve nearly 1.3 million electric customers in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.

"A major portion of customer bills is comprised of non-base-rate fuel charges designed to recover the cost of fuel expended during electricity generation," Alford said. "Those charges fluctuate year to year based on changes in fuel source pricing."

In January, OG&E lowered the customer fuel charges in comparison to recent years, Alford said.

"That change reflected the forecast of lower generation fuel prices in the near term," he said. "So, all things being equal, customers should see lower bills this summer. …

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