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    Sierra Club: Oklahoma's Two Largest Utilities Polar Opposite on Clean Energy Future

    December 2, 2022 - Targeted News Service


      OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, Dec. 2 (TNSrpt) -- The Sierra Club issued the following news release on Dec. 1, 2022:

      Oklahoma's two largest utilities are polar opposites when it comes to planning their energy future. The Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) scored 99.5 percent (A) while Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) scored zero percent (F) in Sierra Club's update to The Dirty Truth About Utility Climate Pledges report. PSO improved its score by thirteen points while OG&E's score fell by four points.

      Sierra Club assigned utilities a score based on their plans in three areas: 1) commitment to retire coal plants by 2030, 2) plans to build gas through 2030, 3) plans to build or purchase clean energy by 2030. The score is on a scale of 0 to 100, with a utility earning points by committing to retire coal and adding clean energy, and losing points by adding new gas. The inaugural report was released in January 2021.

      PSO's score increased because of its plan to replace coal plants with new renewable energy before the end of the decade. OG&E does not plan to close any of its coal plants before the end of the decade. While OG&E has plans to add new renewable energy before 2030, the utility also plans to build a new gas plant, which burns primarily methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

      Sierra Club has been critical of the energy planning process overseen by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC). Sierra Club told the OCC that its public transparency and oversight of utility energy plans should be improved. Additionally, in a recent OG&E rate case, expert testimony shows the utility cost its customers an additional $600 million over its coal plants' value from 2017 through 2021 compared to market prices.

      Statement from Cheyenne Skye Branscum, Chapter Chair of the Oklahoma Sierra Club:

      "Oklahoma is uniquely positioned to be a leader in wind and solar energy throughout our country. It's exciting to see that PSO is seriously moving toward renewable energy while equally shocking that OG&E's leadership is doubling down on fossil fuels. I don't think OG&E's coal plants will make much sense if accurate financial modeling is conducted in its next long-range energy plan, especially now that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has incentives available to move from fossil fuels to clean energy. PSO leaders are showing Oklahomans that clean energy makes financial sense without the IRA, so hopefully OG&E customers, like me, will benefit from smarter decision-making by the state's largest monopoly electric utility. One way to ensure OG&E customer interests are protected is by increasing public transparency and oversight of the monopoly utilities the OCC regulates. We need the OCC to do this because I don't have a choice of where to buy electricity."

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