Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-10-17 08:00:00 –
This guest’s opinion is from Nick Singer. He is an office candidate and has worked as an organizer, activist, consultant, lobbyist, and volunteer for a variety of progressive purposes. He is based in OKC.
Opinion – Oklahoma City (Free press) — Every month, Oklahoma residents pay for utilities. I expect natural gas to flow while the lights are on. In February 2021, Oklahoma reached record coldest temperatures for several days. Utilities had to temporarily suspend their electricity supply, and their natural gas supply reached critical levels.
Natural gas is the fuel of choice to meet electricity demand when no one else can. For a few days, we could hardly provide our industrial infrastructure. At the same time, the natural gas market collapsed, prices rose to astronomical levels, and utilities paid to meet rising demand. Utilities have bought more gas than a year at a cost in the last two days. If we, the payers, had to pay those invoices in a month, that would total thousands of dollars.
This sounds complicated. It sounds expensive. That being said, there are many very important people and businesses that pay very high fees to monitor, manage, regulate and determine how these systems work. Countless states, federals, and even local governments, laws and regulations interact to keep the lights on and keep everyone happy.
Our job is to pay our invoices, their job is to deliver the goods.
So when tackling such a problem, there are many fingers and criticisms to point out. I try to simplify and assign the correct amount of responsibility to each party.
First, payers need to be off-hook. Supporting, maintaining, or protecting the public interest anywhere in the Constitution, Charter, or by-laws, including the Governor, Legislature, Corporate Commission, Southwestern Power Pool, Secretary of Justice, and even OG & E, ONG, and PSO. There is a wording aimed at.
Wouldn’t it ruin the royal family and stick us to the bill?
Utilities are trying to solve the crisis they caused. These companies knew that the energy spot market was at stake. Recent cold wave events here and in Texas have shown that their infrastructure can fail in extreme cold. There are two ways to look carefully and rationally. A concept used by regulators to determine whether payments should be received. Was it wise to use a coldsnap to flush the gas with the lights on? of course. Was it wise to be exposed to the spot market, or did you have to pay these ridiculous prices because it relies on cold-sensitive infrastructure? Absolutely not!
Congress passed the bill at warp speed to create a process called securitization. This is a fancy term for increasing costs and interest over the years. More technically, our future interest payments are a debt payment method that goes to the bond market to pay off astronomical purchases.
Securitization is a terrifying public policy! Accountability is zero, and in fact it encourages businesses to make the same mistakes and invoice consumers for another 28 years. There are ways to chase the lucrative and protect the payers, but they didn’t do any of them.
The governor signed it and was terribly quiet about investigating who paid all this money and why. It is important for government agencies to ensure that the law is being followed and to pay attention to the general public.
The Attorney General is a People’s Attorney and is supposed to represent us in these cases. After Mike Hunter fell, they were silent about investigating price cuts, or whether these charges were wise and reasonable. They have no opinion on the current OG & E settlement agreement. Not good!
The Southwest Powerpool, the company that manages the grid, has a stack of documents, slides, and studies on how to guarantee reliability and low cost with a lot of very important people. In these cases, people who cannot hold people who have greatly benefited from an accountable crisis. When we pay $ 1 billion in fuel costs and interest, it’s not low cost.
OG & E has filed the first proceeding and is now a bad guy. This is a trial balloon for this charade. The profit of the enterprise is to do this as quickly as possible. They have already run out of money and have huge debts they want to service and get out of the book.
There are some issues here.
First, they protect malicious people.
OG & E knows who paid the gas price in the stratosphere. They know where the infrastructure failed, why, and how much it will cost to prevent it or fix it in the future. They know they are incredibly profitable, have increased dividends to shareholders for over 14 years, and have many ways to repay debt that isn’t behind payers. increase.
I’m doing this because I think they can.
Utilities are a regulated monopoly because the supply of electricity is expensive and capital intensive. You cannot operate competing power plants or lines. The keyword is “regulation”. They don’t get what they want. Regulators have incredible power here.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is a constitutionally created regulatory body with incredible power over these companies. There are three members elected throughout the state. 2 votes and they can do a lot. Like many legal matters, they can justify this in many ways. Decided to protect toll payers, at least as easily as they could justify transferring the farm to the interests of various natural gas, and that exorbitant fees are wise or unreasonable. You can find it.
After all, this is political and about greed.
OG & E will not go bankrupt if you feed this cost for years. Executives may have to give up some stock options. Perhaps dividends will not exceed $ 300 million in a few years, but only $ 250 million a year, but will eventually recover.
Or OG & E can play hardball with people who really confused us. Maybe their companions in middle-class operations and natural gas storage wouldn’t want to give up those fat February checks, but OG & E needs to have those tough conversations.
We can still get angry if these people build a lot of new infrastructure or drill new weatherable natural gas wells in the two days of February to stop the emergency. But at least there is something to show it.
I didn’t get anything at this cost. Some people who were sitting in the gas at the right time benefited from the natural disaster. That’s wrong. The payer did not do that, and all responsible people cannot keep passing the money. It has to stop somewhere.
February freeze in Oklahoma shouldn’t lead to greed in years to come Source link February freeze in Oklahoma shouldn’t lead to greed in years to come