CenterPoint Energy Is Leaving Oklahoma
If you're a natural gas customer here in Lawton and a handful of other places across Easter, Southern and Southwestern Oklahoma, odds are you've received a letter from CenterPoint Energy in the last week detailing that they've opted to end service here in Oklahoma by selling off their assets to a new natural gas management company, Colorado based Summit Utilities. It has left many people wondering why, and while there are a ton of rumors, it's most likely just big business doing big business.
The biggest and loudest rumor out there surrounding CenterPoint energy is the massive losses they staked during the February 2021 Deep Freeze Blizzard across Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. The way Texas opted to set up their utility businesses left countless residents across the Lone Star State with utility bills in the tens of thousands of dollars for heating and electricity generating. No shocker that so many people cannot pay those exorbitant bills, so it looked as if CenterPoint would either fold as a company, take a big handout, or sell off assets to prop up the company. Seeing the current stock price, it seems this move has been a good one for them since it was announced in April. This was confirmed as "just a rumor" via email from a CenterPoint Energy representative. Apparently, the selling of our service is a move that started late last year, the blizzard fiasco seems to just be the convenient social media talking point.
What does this mean for us in Southwest Oklahoma? Not much. It just means we'll be getting a new natural gas provider, service should stay the same, logos and company names will be the biggest change that anyone can foresee at this moment, but it's not a done deal just yet. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has to make a decision to allow it. In the past, "The Commission" has been a tough and often unpredictable body to judge these matters, but something like this should be swept through without a problem.
The real shocker here is this... why didn't Oklahoma Gas & Electric opt to pick up the portions of the state they don't already exist in? OG&E may not have a ton of infrastructure in many of the rural portions of the state, but most Oklahomans would prefer to be served by Oklahoma companies... even if OG&E instantly requested a fuel surcharge increase before the February winter storm was even over. You talk with people who live by OG&E power and gas, and most have nothing good to say about them, so opting for the Colorado based Summit Utilities might be a better option for all of us.