Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Issues Murky Order on Cogeneration Case

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission Issues Murky Order on Cogeneration Case

Article excerpt

An order issued Wednesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission finds that Public Service Co. of Oklahoma will not need any power additions until 1999, but included language apparently designed not to bar independent cogeneration completely.

Smith Cogeneration Inc. of Oklahoma City, which proposed a 200-megawatt plant at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Lawton on PSO's system, was still evaluating the order late Wednesday, but generally perceived it as negative.

The independent power firm asserts that PSO will need additional power by the mid-1990s.

"Smith Cogeneration is disappointed by the. . .decision, which adopts a dust bowl economic forecast for Oklahoma," said spokesman Larry Stein in a prepared statement.

In an usual procedure, the order was voted on by commissioners at about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday but was not prepared until after 4:30 p.m. Thus, it was not filed with the commission court clerk's office, but it had been signed by two commissioners _ Bob Anthony and J.C. Watts Jr.

In the morning session, the only description of the order made was that it granted Smith's application in part and denied it in part.

Commission Chairman Bob Hopkins did not sign the order and voted against it earlier, indicating he felt the order would prevent Smith Cogeneration from building a plant.

"Under this order, Smith Cogeneration is allowed to proceed with their facility," Anthony told Hopkins, however, without elaborating.

Hopkins, however, persisted that the commission should force the parties to work out a "reasonable compromise" agreement.

The order did not address Smith Cogeneration's request to have the commission order PSO to negotiate a power sales agreement.

"We're closing the door on hundreds of thousands of dollars these people have spent on this," Hopkins said.

"There's a lot of things that can be done to save this. …

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