OG&E Electric Services last week filed with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission a comprehensive update on its progress to improve electric system security and its future plans for further protecting vital electric infrastructure against vandalism, theft, and attack.
"Since 2002, we have worked very closely with the Oklahoma Commission to establish a standard for necessary security measures and to improve the security of our electric system," said Howard Motley, vice president of regulatory affairs for OG&E. "Today's filing provides commissioners with an update on the security investments that we've made since the commission approved landmark rules in 2004. It also outlines a framework for the next phase of our ongoing effort to further protect the critical infrastructure that powers our state's economy."
The Oklahoma Commission was among the first state regulatory bodies in the country to launch an in-depth study into utility infrastructure security, Motley said. "The commission spent over two years working on the process with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other agencies to provide a model, not only for Oklahoma, but other states regarding the protection of a state's utility infrastructure," he said.
The commission's 2004 order allows OG&E to recover its costs associated with improved security. Since July 2006, customers have been paying a few cents more each month for such measures as increased security personnel at key locations, added protection of certain facilities and additional security technology.
"Since the order was approved, we've had a number of additional rules at the national level that we've been required to address," Motley said. "We will be able to comply with these new standards, including an expensive back- up transformer inventory program, without significant deviation from the originally estimated cost. When all projects are complete, we estimate that residential customers will be paying about 36 cents per month, which is a penny less than our 2004 estimate of 37 cents, approved by the commission."
OG&E also has added the McClain power plant to its fleet since the 2004 OCC security order, a major asset requiring protection, which is also included in the updated security plan.
"As our updated plan shows, we are very security-conscious. The company's electric system serves the daily personal and business needs of more than 1 million people. Serious problems on OG&E's system could have a dramatic impact on people's lives and on the state's economy," Motley said. "Terrorism remains a threat, and new issues have emerged, including copper theft. We look forward to working with the commission in our ongoing collaboration to protect the electric system that serves us all."