OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted Thursday to approve an agreement that will allow Public Service Company of Oklahoma to move forward with plans to build three solar farms and three wind farms.
Attorney General Gentner Drummond, who announced the settlement agreement last week, said Corporation Commission approval allows PSO to move forward with a $2.5 billion plan that will ultimately provide 995 megawatts of power production “in exchange for significant protections for PSO customers.” He said the plan would add an average of $1.95 per month to customer utility bills for several months in 2025. But by 2026 is expected to reduce the average customer’s bill by $2.58 per month because of production tax credits and reductions in fuel usage.
PSO Spokesman Wayne Greene said last week the new facilities would be built in the Texas Panhandle and southern Kansas, but feed power into the grid that supplies PSO service areas in Oklahoma. PSO officials have said they plan to increase the company’s reliance on renewable energy sources but also maintain gas plants, creating a diverse energy supply.
Drummond said a key to his support of the agreement is the protections it provides Oklahoma consumers, to include assurance that Oklahomans benefit from low fuel costs and have protection against surging energy prices. Protections include:
• Future requests for proposals must include all types of energy sources to keep costs competitive and ensure customers receive the benefit of lowest cost resources regardless of fuel source.
• PSO will cap the cost of the project at $2.47 billion, ensuring any cost overruns are not passed on to ratepayers. It guarantees that any reduction in project costs are recognized to the benefit of customers.
• PSO guarantees the renewable resources in this project will qualify for tax credits, which offsets a large portion of the project cost. It also guarantees the project will produce a certain level of power, offsetting the costs of other resources that use fuel commodities.
• PSO will conduct a collaborative process for its fuel supply plan and evaluate gas procurement and gas storage options to ensure reliability and lower customer costs. This measure is designed to prevent surging energy prices, such as those encountered during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.
• The settlement includes language to ensure PSO upholds its obligations. If the company fails to meet any guarantees, it must make customers whole.