- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed SB 1456, which allows utilities to ask the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to add a bill surcharge for new owners of distributed generation (DG) like rooftop solar and small wind turbines.
- Legislators approved the bill to allow utilities to recover revenues needed to pay for transmission infrastructure that would be lost as the number of DG users increases.
- Governor Fallin also issued a detailed executive order requiring commissioners to make certain any approved bill surcharges do not violate the intent of the 2011 Oklahoma First Energy Plan written to grow distributed generation.
The SB 1456 legislation appears to have come directly out of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) playbook and to have been designed to defend the state’s utilities against the progress of rooftop solar and small wind.
The Governor’s executive order clearly acknowledges the potential economic opportunities in distributed generation. It instructs commissioners to implement SB 1456 in a way that supports “all forms of energy.”
The order called the expected future growth of Oklahoma DG “an exciting development” and ordered commissioners to consider all other options “including other rate reforms such as increased time-of-use rates, minimum bills, and demand charges” before approving a fixed bill charge.
The Alliance for Solar Choice approved of Governor Fallin’s action “defending Oklahomans’ right to generate their own clean energy” and pointed out the executive order requires the OCC to “conduct a transparent evaluation of distributed generation” before allowing fixed charges.