PSO requesting rate hike, customers upset

PSO requesting rate hike, customers upset

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HUGO -

In many areas in Oklahoma, PSO runs the electric lines.

Now the company wants a rate hike to pay for new smart meter connections to those lines.

Howard Houchen is a PSO customer who says he was told the new smart meters will save him money.

He doesn't see it that way.

"This will not be the end of the rate hikes," says Houchen.

"It's increase after increase after increase. With these rate increases, tell me how we're supposed to save money."

According to PSO, the meters will give customers more information about how much electricity costs them, allowing them to reduce usage, especially during peak hours.

In a request to the Corporation Commission, PSO is asking for an average hike of 4.31 percent for a residential customer, or about 4 extra dollars a month. A limited use residential customer could see a hike of 9.45 percent, or $7.30 a month.

Fox 25 Legal Analyst David Slane says the move leaves consumers without a choice.

"PSO doesn't give their utility customers the right to opt out, to choose not to have smart meters so they're stuck with a smart meter many of them didn't want," Slane said.

PSO said in a statement rates have not been increased since 2010, and said the rates some of the lowest in the country. Since then, it's spent half a billion dollars in infrastructure improvements and still never raised prices.

Houchen says after this, more increases are still to come.

"This is a waste of dollars. Utility companies will be able to save money by basically firing meter readers now and they're going to save the money, We are stuck with a rate increase and this isn't the first one."

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