Utility legislation, now law, will protect Oklahoma families, seniors and small businesses
OKLAHOMA CITY – Two Senate bills to help manage huge spikes in energy costs after February’s historic winter storm will protect seniors, families, small businesses and Oklahoma’s economy. That’s according to Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, chair of the Senate select committee created to study the issue. Both Senate Bills 1049 and 1050 were recently signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Leewright, who also chairs the Senate Business, Commerce and Tourism Committee, presented the measures on the floor on behalf of Senate principal author, Appropriations Chair Roger Thompson. Rep. Garry Mize, chair of the House Utilities Committee, is the House principal author.
“I don’t think we can understate how important these two bills are in terms of protecting Oklahomans from being hit with several months of utility bills that would have skyrocketed by thousands of dollars. The impact on our economy, just as we are recovering from the pandemic, would have been devastating,” Leewright said. “I’m grateful to the members of both chambers who supported these measures and to Governor Stitt for signing them into law. These may be two of the most important bills of the session.”
The measures create a framework for securitization of the approximately $4.5 billion in increased energy costs from the winter storm. Thompson, R-Okemah, said the measures provide the entire state a critical path forward after the arctic weather system wreaked havoc in states across the country.
“I don’t know many families, seniors, individuals or businesses that could have absorbed such huge increases in their utility bills. Through these two pieces of legislation, the increases are going to be spread out over several years,” Thompson said. “These measures will protect Oklahoma consumers.”
Both measures took effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.
“Senate Bill 1049 and Senate Bill 1050 strike a harmonious balance between the needs of our constituents and the needs of utility companies across the state,” Mize said. “These companies will still receive the full amount that is due to them, but all Oklahomans should breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t have a huge surprise bill coming. I was very glad to work with Senator Leewright over the last two months to develop this legislation and am grateful the governor signed it into law.”\