COLUMN: Voters should reject ‘business as usual’ franchise agreement | Opinion

In summertime 2017, Norman inhabitants were suffering from power disruptions in core Norman from aging OG&E electrical infrastructure, devastating tree trimmings and removals, and sloppy vegetation management at the very time OG&E petitioned the metropolis to renew the 25-calendar year franchise arrangement that governs their operations in Norman.

All those people were between the lots of who pleaded with the Norman Metropolis Council to battle for them, and we did.

The council amended the franchise settlement to consist of opt-out clauses with needed community hearings each individual five several years, moreover vegetation administration principles that included enhanced notification prerequisites.

The council gave Norman the chance to vote on a 21st century franchise settlement that reflected our 21st century values and held our dominant electrical company to fair benchmarks for environmental stewardship and community transparency.

When OG&E asked to table the election to even more negotiate, we agreed in great faith, retaining correct exterior legal counsel to assist usher us through the system.

Still, soon after a 5-12 months delay, the franchise arrangement coming to voters Tuesday has not modified. That is why I will be voting no and urge Normanites to vote no, as effectively.

Some will stage to the tiny choices OG&E has created as rationale to indicator off on another 25 years of “business as typical.”

Downtown is enduring less energy disruptions, and there is now a vegetation administration ordinance on the publications, while not detailed in both language or enforcement.

I point to these as factors why we ought to not cease advocating for what Norman demands.

Both of those of these smaller successes are only a direct final result of Norman refusing to re-sign the franchise settlement.

Following five a long time of negotiations, a enormous winter season storm that knocked out ability to tens of thousands of town residents, five expenses and rate increases considering that 2017 and one extra proposed just final month, this proposed settlement is an even worse offer for Norman than it was in 2017.

Not only are residents shelling out elevated expenditures on their possess utility expenditures, but mainly because of the new expenses and securitization service fees about the very last 5 years, underneath this franchise arrangement, the city will be paying out extra, as perfectly.

Norman, we want an clarification of why our want for a far better offer has been dismissed. Voters should reject this settlement and carry OG&E back to the desk.

The council ought to maintain firm on demanding OG&E to arrive talk to their prospects in Norman each 5 decades, which was element of our unique negotiation, and answer to OG&E’s new raises by negotiating an exemption for the town from securitization and surcharge expenses.

This is an possibility to be much better stewards of our tax dollars.

It is an understatement to say a lot has transpired in the last five-and-a-50 percent yrs.

What has not adjusted is the want to use the applications at our disposal to hold our electrical organizations accountable to the people today, and these equipment are shrinking quickly.

Norman is the third largest metropolis in the state, and there is no more substantial metropolis with the possibility in the up coming 15 many years to approve a 21st century franchise settlement that does what it can to safeguard its citizens.

We ought to have greater, Norman. You should be part of me in voting NO on Tuesday.

Bierman, a Norman small business operator, is a former city council member.