- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has asked state regulators to remove a $413 million plan to replace an Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. plant from an ongoing case that regulators are considering.

The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1Ow3Vhf ) reports that attorney general Scott Pruitt, whose office represents consumers in utility cases at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, said that the case before regulators should be limited to the company’s plan for federal compliance.

The utility company is seeking pre-approval to replace its aging plant in Mustang with several quick-fire combustion turbines fueled by natural gas.

The attorney general joined Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. to challenge a federal plan for regional haze that called for reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxides. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined in May to review an appellate decision. The utility predicts that it will spend about $700 million to install emission-reduction equipment to meet federal rules for regional haze and mercury and air toxics standards.

The attorney general’s motion to remove the plan comes more than a month after other parties involved in the case asked Administrative Law Judge Ben Jackson to dismiss the Mustang modernization plan from the case. Jackson said that he would consider those motions when testimony concluded. The judge then wrote a report with recommendations to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Kathleen O’Shea, a spokeswoman for the gas and electric company, said the utility was disappointed with Pruitt’s request, and believes it’s time for the plant to be updated.

“We did feel this was the right plant and the right plan for all the reasons given in testimony,” O’Shea said. “It’s a valuable site and the combustion turbines have real benefits, not to mention all the people in Canadian County and the Mustang area who are supporting that plant.”

According to O’Shea, if the commission approves the utility’s environmental plan without the Mustang project, residential ratepayers would see a 12 percent increase on their bill from now until 2019.

“The attorney general acknowledges such a rate increase is the result of the excessive burdens and mandates placed upon an Oklahoma utility by the EPA, but notes any rate increase must be implemented with the least possible cost to the consumer while considering reliability, safety and security,” Pruitt’s office said in the motion.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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