Order denies advanced funding for coal-fired plant in N. OK

Oklahoma City _ State regulators have issued a final order denying a request by utility companies to raise customer rates to pay for construction costs of a proposed coal-fired power plant in Northern Oklahoma.

Corporation Commissioner Chairman Jeff Cloud and Commissioner Jim Roth signed the order. Commissioner Bob Anthony, who voted last month against the denial, signed a separate order.  Anthony believes the proposed $1.8 billion coal-fired plant may be cheaper for ratepayers over time and would use new technology to reduce emissions.

Cloud says lengthy hearings determined that Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. will need more generating capacity by the year 2012.  But he says the companies did not present enough evidence that other alternatives for generating electricity were fully explored.

Thursday's order calls on the companies to explore new energy efficiency programs with customers to slow the demand for electricity in the state.

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