High Natural Gas Prices To Impact Electric Bills; PSO Urges Customers To Use Conservation

Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) is urging its customers to be prepared for higher electric bills this winter as a result of sharply increased costs of natural gas purchased to power generating facilities.

PSO customers are encouraged to conserve energy as a way to partially offset the impact  that high natural gas prices will ultimately have on their bills.  Customers could see substantial increases in their monthly bills because of the increased market price of natural gas, which PSO cannot control.

Electric bills could go up by 40 percent or more because of increases in natural gas costs.  Market prices for natural gas climbed from around $7 per million British thermal units (MMBtus) in June to $14 per MMBtus by late September, and prices are expected to remain at historically high levels for the foreseeable future.

Fuel Impact

chart “Although we can’t control the market prices for natural gas, we will continue our efforts to provide PSO’s customers energy at the lowest reasonable cost,” said Stuart Solomon, PSO president and chief operating officer.  “Market prices have more than doubled since June due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which shut down more than 70 percent of the natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as due to the impacts of supply and demand in the marketplace.” 

“While no one can know what the market price of natural gas will be in the future, we expect prices generally will remain high for some time, and we want our customers to prepare for this,” said Solomon.

PSO does not make any money from the purchase of natural gas to fuel PSO plants that generate electricity for its customers.  The cost of the fuel is passed along to customers but the process and amounts are subject to review and approval by state regulators.

On a daily basis, PSO uses a mix of energy resources for generation, including coal, natural gas, and wind, along with some market purchases.  PSO works to provide customers with energy and the lowest reasonable cost, and to assure the adequacy and reliability of power supplies.
“We urge everyone to do all they can to use energy more efficiently and wisely, and this will help to limit the impacts of uncontrollable, record-high natural gas prices,” said Solomon.

Following are a couple of actions customers can take to help manage their electric bills: 

  • Consider signing up for PSO’s Average Monthly Payment (AMP) plan. AMP evens out the highs and lows in monthly bills, which makes budgeting a little easier.  To sign up for AMP, please call PSO’s Customer Service Center at 1-888-216-3523.
  • Check out PSO’s website, PSOklahoma.com, for energy saving tips.  In addition, here’s a link to access an Internet site where customers can perform their own home energy audits and calculate for themselves the energy savings and costs of various conservation steps and actions.  The link to that website is http://hes.lbl.gov. Customers also will find a number of helpful energy conservation links.
PSO, a unit of American Electric Power, is an electric utility company serving approximately 511,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma.  Based in Tulsa, PSO has more than 4,000 megawatts of generating capacity.
Stan Whiteford
Corporate Communications

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