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Oklahoma Bills Would Revamp Agency, Allow Choice

Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1997

Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Easley (D) has introduced two bills to the state Legislature. The first bill would introduce competition to the electric utility industry. The second bill would revamp the Oklahoma regulatory commission.

Senate Bill 500, the "Electric Restructuring Act," would allow some consumers to choose their electric suppliers by 1999. All consumers would be able to choose soon thereafter. The measure also calls for the Oklahoma Tax Commission to assess the impact of restructuring on state tax revenues and the feasibility of establishing a uniform consumption tax.

Senate Bill 600 would remove the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's energy divisions to a new Energy Commission of Oklahoma. The new commission would be established starting July 1, 1997, but actual operating functions of the existing energy agencies would not be moved until one year later. The Energy Commission board would consist of nine members, three each appointed by the governor, House speaker, and Senate president. A separate, nine-member oil and gas council, and a fuels council would make recommendations to the Energy Commission.

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