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Okla. regulators reject, for now, OG&E's proposed distributed generation tariffs

Regulators in Oklahoma have decided not to sign off at thistime on proposed new charges that OklahomaGas and Electric Co. sought to impose on customers who generateelectricity from distributed generation technologies, such as rooftop solarpanels and small wind turbines.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission April 12 that the subsidiary'sproposal should be considered in the utility's ongoing rate case . OG&E in December2015 asked the OCC toapprove a rate increase of $92.5 million when compared to OG&E's rates thatwere implemented in August 2012.

"Review of any proposed distributed generation tariffsin the rate case will allow the commission to perform a full and thoroughevaluation based upon updated information," the OCC said. It added thatOG&E's existing tariffs "could create the opportunity for subsidiesbetween distributed generation participants and non-participants." Inaddition, the OCC said it is unsure that the proposed distributed generationcharge would recover only the costs required to serve these customers.

OG&E first proposedthe distributed generation tariffs in July 2015, which would have includeddemand, energy, fuel and customer charges and a new net-metering rider, in responseto a 2014 law thatallows electric utilities to seek to impose a special fee on customers whogenerate their own power. However, lawmakers also stipulated that retailelectric suppliers cannot collect more money than is required to serve suchcustomers nor allow customers with distributed-generating systems to besubsidized by those without such equipment.

OG&E told regulators that its current net-meteringtariffs "tend to compensate customers at a level that is too high for theembedded benefit they provide." Specifically, the utility said currentnon-demand rates create subsidies by collecting demand-related costs throughenergy charges.