OCC orders utility companies to prioritize residents over businesses 

On February 16, 2020, The Oklahoma Corporation Commission unanimously passed an order to “assist in stabilizing the electric and natural gas grids that are necessary for public health, welfare, safety, and security,”

The OCC passed the order 2-0, with Commissioners Todd Hiett and Dana Murphy voting yes, and Commissioner Bob Anthony abstaining, citing concerns about “unintended consequences and contract issues.”

Wreath informed commissioners that certain businesses were asked by utility companies to reduce power, but refused.

Director of Public Utilities, Brandy Wreath told commissioners, “This is a dire situation.” Wreath told the commission that additional gas well “freeze offs” could occur, and if there is insufficient wind generation, there is the possibility of another energy shortage.

The order gives utility companies the ability to divert power to prevent potential loss of life, and states, “In response to the 2021 Winter Weather Event, the Commission orders that, to the extent possible, natural gas and electric utilities shall, in a manner consistent with Commission rules, prioritize the delivery of natural gas to their customers as follows:

  1. Deliveries of natural gas and electricity services necessary for life, health, and public safety.
  2. Deliveries of natural gas to electric generation facilities that serve human needs customers.”

The order ends Saturday, February 20, 2020.

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Charles Betzler

Charles Betzler

Charles Betzler is a contributing writer for Sapulpa Times.