Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Panel Dismisses Charges on Cogeneratin Payments

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Panel Dismisses Charges on Cogeneratin Payments

Article excerpt

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By Ronda Fears A portion of the debate on cogeneration payments charged by Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. was dismissed Wednesday at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, apparently sparing a 300-megawatt cogeneration plant in eastern Oklahoma.

The issue dismissed involved the commission's former waiver of Rule 58h that allowed it to review the power sales agreement between OG&E and Applied Energy Services Inc., which operates a coal-fired cogeneration plant in LeFlore County.

Without the waiver, Applied Energy Services said its financing was in jeopardy and the plant could be forced out of business. It employees about 112 people directly, said Plant Manager and President Bill Arnold. Poteau Mayor Don Barnes said another 2,000 jobs have been created by the plant in coal mining and related industries.

Commission staff continues to look at the way OG&E collects cogeneration payments and from what ratepayers, along with the utility's earnings in general. There are three cases tracking. A mandatory rate case has been filed by commission staff to investigate OG&E's rate of return, which is required every five years by state law.

"They (commission staff) had absolutely no intention of saying that we should not be paid, or altering the amount we are paid," Arnold said.

"They are looking at who OG&E is charging and how they are making those charges. I'm very pleased with the way staff rewrote (application )1046 (which looks at the method of cogeneration charges)."

An OG&E ratepayer had challenged the waiver at the commission and in state district court. Commission administrative law judge Bob Goldfield dismissed the case with prejudice Wednesday, which means it cannot be refiled at the commission. But, a hearing on the state district court case is set at the Oklahoma Supreme Court later this month.

A hearing on amending the way in which OG&E collects cogeneration payments is set for April 24 at the commission. …

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