Missed projections led to high fuel collections for electric utilities – news – bartlesville examiner-enterprise – bartlesville, ok

OKLAHOMA CITY (TNS) — Lower-than-expected natural gas and other fuel costs last year left Oklahoma’s two largest electric utilities with large fuel over-collections, drawing criticism from some customer groups that the money isn’t being returned quickly enough on bills.

Both Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. Electricity trading and Public Service Co. Gas prices in michigan of Oklahoma are in the middle of annual fuel prudence reviews done by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Eseva electricity bill payment Regulators are scrutinizing 2015 fuel purchases and whether the utilities properly accounted for fuel and related charges.

By law, regulated utilities can’t profit on the fuel costs, which are a direct pass-through to customers. Electricity definition wikipedia But last year’s low prices for natural gas and coal led to OG&E and PSO carrying millions of dollars in fuel over-collections from customers. Gas efficient suv 2008 PSO ended 2015 with a fuel over-collection of $96.7 million, while OG&E had an over-collection of $40 million by the end of the year.

Representatives of the utilities said the fuel overcharges are returned to customers, with interest. 8 gas laws And they said the current system works to the advantage of customers — at least temporarily — if fuel prices rise. La gastronomia Corporation Commission rules provide for fuel adjustments on bills at least once per year.

But groups like AARP Oklahoma and the Quality of Service Coalition said there needs to be better billing transparency. Gas yoga AARP also said it’s increasingly troubled by utilities timing rate increases with lower adjustments in the fuel factor. Electricity lab physics That has the effect of blunting rate increases on customer bills.

The fuel portion of bills — called the fuel adjustment factor — shows up as a long decimal on utility bills as a rate per kilowatt hour of electricity. Victaulic t gasket Its calculation comes from the price of the commodity, transportation, storage and related costs. Wb state electricity board bill pay It also includes similar items for the fuel costs in the utility’s long-term power-purchase contracts.

That tiny decimal adds up. Gas bubbler Depending on the season and prices, fuel accounts for between 30 and 50 percent of the typical electric bill. Gas vs diesel prices The average residential customer in Oklahoma uses about 1,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity in a month.

“While it’s a fraction, you use thousands of those fractions in a given month, so it obviously calculates out to a substantial portion of your bill,” said Brandy Wreath, director of the Corporation Commission’s public utility division.

The fuel factor is a separate but related component of the utility’s rates, which for regulated utilities are set based on the amount of capital invested in plants, transmission lines and distribution equipment. Gas bloating frequent urination The elected, three-member Corporation Commission approves the rate of return for those capital costs in rate cases.

Electric utility bills in Oklahoma are based on fuel prices and a bundling of the other costs into rates, so residential customers typically just see the amount for their particular billing option and the electricity consumption on their bills. Electricity notes There are no separate line items on bills for fixed costs or the temporary, single-purpose items known as riders.

“Prices in Oklahoma are all set on a bundle basis, and I think the bills are just logically following the way rates are set in Oklahoma,” said Steve Fate, vice president of regulatory and finance for PSO.

Together, the two electric utilities have about 1.3 million customers in Oklahoma. Electricity jeopardy 4th grade PSO has more than 545,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Bp gas prices OG&E now has more than 832,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Utilities set the fuel factor based on their projections for fuel prices in the next year. Gas laws worksheet If those projections are more than expected, the resulting under-collection will need to be made up in future bills. V gashi 2012 If the projections are lower than expected, the over-collection will lower the fuel portion of future bills.

The electric utilities submit monthly fuel reviews with the commission’s public utility division, so regulators can keep up with fuel costs more regularly than the annual prudence reviews.

According to regulatory filings, OG&E had a fuel under-collection of $73 million at the end of 2014 and an over-collection of $5.1 million at the end of 2013. 9gag wiki PSO had under-collections of $32.3 million at the end of 2014 and $11.2 million at the end of 2013.

“If you’ve got more frequent adjustments, that potentially increases the volatility,” Fate said. Gas in babies “From our perspective, an annual adjustment is the most effective way to manage that short-term volatility. Gas tracker We have made mid-cycle adjustments when prices have spiked. 3 gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect Those are usually fairly short-lived and they came back down. Yoga gas relief pose Volatility implies both directions, and the fact that we set factors over the longer term did help mute that spike’s effect to customers.”

PSO, which filed for a $130 million rate increase in July 2015, put in an interim rate increase of $75 million in January, something utilities are allowed to do if their rate cases aren’t resolved in 180 days. Gas and electric phone number Interim rates are subject to refund, with interest. Electricity physics The utility paired that interim rate increase with an announcement of $140 million in lower fuel charges. U gas station The net effect meant bills were lower by $2.44 per month for the typical customer.

After 16 months, the commission voted 2-1 earlier this month to grant PSO a much lower rate increase of $14 million and ordered PSO to refund the interim rates to customers as a bill credit. Gas after eating yogurt Separately, PSO said in October that rising natural gas prices meant its fuel costs would rise by about 9 percent beginning with the November billing cycle.

Meanwhile, OG&E is awaiting an administrative law judge’s report and recommendation in its $92.5 million rate increase that was filed in December. Electricity japan If granted in full, the proposal could hike residential bills by more than $7 per month. Electricity outage in fort worth OG&E implemented a $69.5 million interim rate increase in July.

“The fuel clause rider includes all sorts of things besides fuel: purchased power, fuel transportation, off-system sales among other costs,” Voskuhl said. Gasbuddy va “OG&E and PSO hide rate increases with oddly timed fuel reductions, and to further add to confusion for the customer, bills are not itemized, which adds to the lack of transparency.”

Lee Paden, an attorney for the Quality of Service Coalition, said bill transparency could help all customers, including the municipal and commercial customers of the coalition.

“The fuel clause item never reflects an amount of fuel refund on the bills,” Paden said. Gas variables pogil worksheet answers “In my opinion, the amount of over-collection should appear on the bill to inform customers of the monthly refund until the over-collection is returned. H gas l gas brennwert Transparency of costs is important to give signals to customers in their use of electricity. E suvidha electricity bill lucknow Having a line item on the face of the bill would help.”

OG&E said its consumers benefited from lower natural gas prices and the first full year of power available in the Southwest Power Pool, which operates a day-ahead electricity market and maintains reliability over all or part of 14 states.

Coal prices were also less than projected in 2015 because OG&E was able to burn cheaper natural gas and buy cheaper purchased power on the SPP market.

Spokesman Randy Swanson said OG&E customers benefited from two fuel-factor adjustments in 2015: a 0.5 percent reduction in January and an 18.2 percent reduction in September. A gas mixture is made by combining Those reductions continued into 2016, with a 16 percent reduction in January and an 11 percent reduction in July, he said.

For their part, regulators said they have policies in place to make sure the over- or under-collections don’t get way out of balance. Electricity consumption For PSO, that means about $50 million either way; for OG&E, it’s 5 percent of annual fuel collections.

Wreath said the 2015 over-collections look large, but they’re within “reasonable tolerances” when they’re compared to the total costs of fuel.

Wreath said regulators try to keep things fair for both the utility and customers. Electricity schoolhouse rock Timing fuel adjustments with changes in rates decreases the chances customers will experience “rate shock” on their bills.

“We look at it from a consumer’s ability to pay the bill,” Wreath said. Ideal gas kinetic energy “It may muddy the water for some, but it actually helps others when there’s one mass release where you tell them the changes they can expect and they can plan for it.”

AARP’s Voskuhl said the commission could adopt new rules to better reflect the changes for fuel adjustments and better billing transparency. Ag gaston birmingham AARP’s wish list includes prohibitions on coupling fuel cost changes with any rate adjustments, whether interim or final rates. Gas station jokes Regulators also could formalize quarterly fuel adjustments and standardize the components rather than taking them on a utility-by-utility basis.