Oklahoma Corporation Commission judge says no to replacing OG&E’s Mustang plant in $1.1 billion compliance case
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. should be able to recover some costs related to environmental compliance, but should not get pre-approval to spend $400 million to replace its aging Mustang generating plant, an administrative law judge recommended Monday.
Corporation Commission Administrative Law Judge Ben Jackson said the utility also should explore adding wind energy, echoing a request by nearly all the parties in OG&E’s complex and lengthy case for environmental compliance and replacement generation.
In his 30-page report, Jackson recommended against any increase in rates at this time. But he said OG&E should be allowed to recover environmental costs already expended or under contract.
Jackson said other costs for environmental compliance should be decided in the utility’s next rate case, which is expected to be filed later this year.
Reaction from intervening parties
Some of the parties involved in case were still studying the report Monday. Attorney Bill Humes, who represented The Wind Coalition, the Oklahoma Hospital Association and Oklahoma Cogeneration LLC, said at first glance the administrative law judge agreed with many of the recommendations of his clients.
“To disallow Mustang and to require more investigation into wind is exactly what our clients were looking for,” Humes said. “Everyone is sympathetic to OG&E’s need to comply with the EPA rules, but it has to be reasonable and the lowest cost. OGE’s plan was neither. It was a great plan for shareholders, but not for customers.”
Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, who represented The Wind Coalition along with Humes, said he was glad the judge recommended additional wind power as a condition of the environmental compliance.
“It appears the judge’s recommendation takes to heart the unanimous request of all customer class parties that OG&E should be required to add low-cost, clean wind energy before any costs for extending their older coal plants should be considered.”