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Americans for Prosperity Press Release

ICYMI: OK’s new utilities legislation would be a payday for corporations

Mar 27, 2024 by AFP

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – With the state Senate considering new utilities legislation that would give certain utility providers first dibs on government contracts, the Tulsa World published an op-ed by Americans for Prosperity – Oklahoma (AFP-OK) state director John Tidwell earlier this month warning that similar bills in other states have caused electric rates to skyrocket.

The state House passed anti-competitive legislation that would offer several companies a “right of first refusal” (ROFR) on contracts for transmission line construction, which would protect these incumbent utilities providers and block out competition – a recipe that’s been proven to increase costs and decrease quality.

AFP-OK state director John Tidwell wrote:

“The American economy relies on competition to drive innovation, lower costs and deliver higher quality goods and services. But HB 4097 would reduce competition even as its supporters keep proclaiming that it’s for good for consumers. Common sense says otherwise.

“Free markets are the only way to lower the cost of upgrading and expanding our electricity grid. State ROFR laws that protect incumbent utilities from competition in the development of new transmission lines are not necessary to achieve goals of cost-effective, reliable grid modernization or lower electric rates for consumers.

“Oklahoma consumers want to see their electricity bills lowered. But the lawmakers supporting HB 4097 apparently think that even after a 34% increase to Oklahomans’ energy bills over the past decade, corporations still need more of our tax dollars.”

Read the full piece here: Opinion: Oklahoma utilities legislation would supercharge your utility bill

Unfortunately, politicians and lobbying groups on both sides of the aisle are apparently in support of reinforcing these companies’ near-monopoly on government contracts and helping them line their pockets at the expense of Oklahoma taxpayers.

AFP-OK is part of a coalition of state-based and national groups opposing the legislation and will continue to urge lawmakers to instead adopt fair, free-market solutions for Oklahoma’s energy grid issues.