Stitt asks Biden to help with anticipated high utility bills

Mike Seals - March 16, 2021 11:10 pm

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said he has sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for expanded federal assistance to help Oklahomans expecting high utility bills.

Stitt said in a tweet Tuesday that over the weekend, he sent a letter asking Biden to expand the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program and/or federal disaster relief funds to help Oklahomans with upcoming high utility bills.

Stitt included a link to the full letter, which said on behalf of the state of Oklahoma, he is requesting support from the Federal Disaster Relief Fund or other federal programs to assist with providing eligibility and financial assistance to utility providers as a result of the recent historic winter storm in Oklahoma.

The governor said that specifically, he is requesting:

  • Direct financial assistance for utility commodity costs specific to utility providers in the private, government and non-profit sectors.
  • Expand eligibility for non-traditional applicants under the Stafford Act to include utility providers in the private, non-profit, and government sectors.

During February’s extended winter weather, the Southwest Power Pool declared a Level 3 Energy Emergency Alert, during which hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans experienced controlled, rolling power outages.

Stitt said Oklahoma gas and electric utilities experienced increased commodity prices as a result of the winter weather, along with problems related to commodity acquisition, line pressure and supply shortages.

Stitt said in the letter that the state is now facing rising electric and gas bills due to increased usage during the winter weather.

OG&E officials had previously announced that they were working with Oklahoma regulators to spread recovery over 10 years to avoid high utility bill increases.

“Due to the historic and unprecedented nature of this severe winter storm, I am asking you to approve this request to help Oklahoma’s crucial energy partners, struggling communities and Oklahoma families impacted by this devastating winter storm,” Stitt said in the letter to Biden.

 

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