VOICE-OKC Denounces Oklahoma Corporation Commission for Failure to Protect Consumers During Freeze

[Excerpt from Guest Column by VOICE-OKC leaders]

"In the matter of the February Freeze and utility costs, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) is failing us. 

OCC's own "Vision" promises to "hold itself and utilities accountable to the citizens of Oklahoma," but it allows secrecy and evades answering public questions. 

VOICE is a coalition of churches and community groups concerned about issues affecting families, so we looked at OCC documents. Utilities don't profit from the February price spikes, so why secrecy? In the middle of the freeze, Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) asked the OCC on Feb. 16 to keep all price records secret. The OCC said yes after just 48 hours.

We now know that ONG put Oklahomans in debt by an extra $1.3 billion in just nine days.

.... VOICE-OKC made the common-sense suggestion that when home energy prices spike suddenly, consumers should receive real-time updates from utilities. Imagine how much more conservation would have occurred in February if utilities (as they knew) said "your price for energy tomorrow is going up by 500%." However, OCC has dismissed this idea; it's another example of OCC favoring monopoly corporations over consumers."

[Photo Credit: From right to left: Eric Jergensen, President of VOICE Action Fund and S. Bennet Goldman, a member of VOICE through First Unitarian Church of OKC. Via The Oklahoman]

Viewpoint: Oklahoma Corporation Commission Is Failing Consumers on Utility Price HikesThe Oklahoman [pdf]