The City of Choctaw is calling on voters to renew Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s franchise agreement with the city.
Residents within the city limits will be tasked with renewing the energy company’s 25-year franchise agreement with Choctaw with an Aug. 8 election.
OG&E needs to renew the agreement to continue accessing city easements and rights-of-ways for maintenance and repairs.
“All this does is allow us to continue to access easements within the city without having to apply for an individual permit for each incident,” said Kimberlee Adams, OG&E community affairs manager. “OG&E will continue to serve the city with electrical service regardless of this election, but we need this approved to legally access those easements.”
Officials say without the agreement, OG&E would have to file for individual permits which would drastically impair the reliability of service as they’d be limited by staffing availability of the city.
“If a storm comes through Friday night, we need to be able to access the easements to make repairs. Most people would agree, waiting until Monday morning when we can file for a permit with the city would not be ideal,” explained Adams.
Officials say OG&E remains a valued community partner.
OG&E serves 5,627 customers in Choctaw, including family homes, schools, churches, and businesses.
“A lot of municipalities are strapped for dollars, and this helps provide a steady stream of revenue that they can use wherever they want. Our franchise agreement is the same in 267 communities across Oklahoma,” said Adams. “Nothing is different in this agreement from other cities.”
On average, OG&E remits $316,000 in annual municipal franchise fees back to the City of Choctaw, and pays an average of $434,000 in sales tax.
The energy company is also the largest contributor to public schools as that’s where the bulk of property taxes go.
OG&E is the largest payer of property tax in the state, and Oklahoma County Treasurer Forrest “Butch” Freeman confirmed OG&E is the largest payer of property taxes in Oklahoma County.
“I’m pretty sure we’re the largest payer of property tax in the Choctaw-Nicoma Park School District,” said Adams.
OG&E pays an average of more than $563,500 in property taxes that support CNP’s public schools, public libraries, and Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates prices and service reliability of three investor-owned electric utilities providing electric service to much of the state. Rates for OG&E, Liberty utilities and Public Service Company of Oklahoma are set through public utility rate case investigations and hearings.
Officials say ballot language can often be confusing, but this measure is simply a renewal required by the state every 25 years.
“When territories were established for energy companies, it was mandated that City Councils set an election and residents approve a franchise agreement,” said Adams.
How the proposition will appear on the Aug. 8 ballot can be found below. A YES vote will show support of renewal, while a NO vote would reject the agreement.
Shall a franchise be granted to the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, a corporation, its successors and assigns giving it the right to produce, transmit and distribute electricity within the City and to sell electricity therein for all purposes for which it may be used, to the City, its inhabitants and the public generally, and the right to construct, maintain and operate a system of poles, wires, conduits and other facilities and equipment in, upon, across, under and over the streets, alleys, public grounds or ways in the City for such purposes, for a period of twenty-five (25) years; providing compensation to the City; in accordance with the terms of Ordinance Number 896-2023, passed and approved by the City Council of the City of Choctaw, Oklahoma, on the 4th day of April.