A special task force on electric restructuring will be touring the state in the weeks to come, seeking public input on how Oklahoma should proceed with the complex issue.
State Senator Kevin Easley, chairman of the Electric Restructuring Advisory Committee, said the panel's number one goal is a simple one - to avoid the mistakes that were made in California.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that California did a very poor job of implementing electric restructuring. Our task is to learn from those mistakes, study the states where restructuring has been successful and see if we can draft a program that fits Oklahoma's needs. Our top priority is protecting Oklahoma consumers from the price hikes and blackouts that have plagued the West Coast," said Sen. Easley.
This legislative session state lawmakers voted to delay any plans for electric restructuring and appoint a special panel to further study the issue. The nine-member Electric Restructuring Advisory Committee must report back to state leaders at the end of 2002.
At its first meeting today, the panel approved an agenda of public meetings that will take members to Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton and a number of other Oklahoma communities.
"It's critical that we hear from the people of Oklahoma because every citizen in the state has a stake in electric restructuring. This is going to be a slow, deliberative process that seeks as much public input and information as possible," said Sen. Easley.
The state lawmaker noted that the advisory committee would be tackling a host of complex issues in the months to come, namely the modernization of the Oklahoma electric system. Although the state has an abundant supply of power, Sen. Easley pointed out that it must also update its transmission network to ensure that electricity can be delivered to customers in an
efficient and inexpensive manner.
"In Oklahoma, we're building more power plants than California even has on the drawing board. We just have to make sure that our transmission system is up to the task of delivering all of that power, especially with the ever increasing demands our society has placed on electricity," said Senator Easley.
The next meeting of the Electric Restructuring Advisory Committee is scheduled for September 19th in Tulsa.