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How to Compare Electricity Rates in Oklahoma

Many consumers believe that they have little to no choice when it comes to selecting utility providers. In reality, many states have deregulated utility companies to allow consumers to compare providers based on price, service and other criteria. While Oklahoma still has regulated utilities as of March 2010, there are ways for residents to compare electricity rates and make their own choices in terms of utilities.

Many different utility providers offer electric service in Oklahoma.
  1. Compare regulated and unregulated electricity providers. Regulated providers are governed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and most hourly rates are set by the Commission. Unregulated providers operate in a free market, and their rates vary depending on demand. In Oklahoma, many small providers are unregulated across the state, including municipal and other specialized providers. See the Resources section for a list of regulated and unregulated providers in Oklahoma, including contact information.

  2. Contact each provider and determine whether you are classified as a residential or commercial customer. In general, residential customers include single family homes and small businesses operating with a single electrical meter. Commercial customers have higher load demands, and often have more than one meter. Commercial customers often pay much lower rates than residential buyers, but pay more overall because of their high demand.

  3. Inquire about the price per kilowatt hour (KWH). According to the US Energy Information Association (EIA), the average residential rate in the US is 11.3 cents per KWH while the average commercial rate is 10.4 cents per KWH. According to the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, residential rates in the state average 8.5 cents per KWH. Ask different providers about their rates, and remember that most regulated companies will have identical KWH rates.

  4. Check into peak usage charges. Many providers charge higher rates per KWH for periods of peak demand. These may include specific hours of the day or even entire months or seasons. For example, the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative charges peak rates from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer, when air conditioning demands raise electrical usage. Compare each provider's peak rate and peak period to your electrical demands to help you choose between providers.

  5. Ask about discounts for high usage. Some providers offer a lower rate for all KWH above a certain quantity. Others may not offer this discount, or may have higher or lower thresholds. If you use a large amount of electricity, look for discounts that may help you lower your bills.

  6. Look into charges and fees beyond usage charges. For example, some providers may charge a "customer fee" each month even if you use no electricity. Others may have higher fees for meter reading, or may require equipment deposits. Try to gather all possible cost data for each provider so you can make an accurate comparison.

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.