Entergy customers already seeing higher utility bills this summer
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many Entergy customers in the greater Baton Rouge area have been seeing higher utility bills recently.
The company made the announcement on Friday, June 3, citing two factors as the reason for the price spike: the rising cost of natural gas and severe weather that has impacted the region over the past two years.
For the week of June 20, Entergy customers in Louisiana used more power than at any other time in history.
According to Entergy, customers surpassed the company’s all-time peak load of about 9840 megawatts in 2015 on Thursday and Friday (the week of June 20), reaching about 9,870 megawatts and about 9,960 megawatts.
“So a combination of fuel costs going up, it costing more to produce power at the natural gas plants, usage increasing due to the higher temperatures coming sooner and sticking around longer,” said David Freese with Entergy Louisiana Communications.
Entergy officials say customers are seeing higher bills this summer due to several factors listed below:
- Natural gas costs – they’ve doubled from last year, and when compared with 2020, they’ve tripled. This is making it more costly to produce power at our natural gas plants or purchase power from the market and shows up on customers’ bills in the form of a fuel adjustment. We’ve worked with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to spread out the fuel costs over several months to avoid having the costs hit bills all at once.
- Severe weather events – we’ve seen catastrophic storms over the past couple of years and the damage led to Entergy having to rebuild portions of the electric system. Our company did what was necessary to restore power and bring a sense normalcy back to the communities we serve. This is showing up on customer bills in the form of storm restoration charges. We’ve also worked with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to recover the storm costs through a financing method called securitization. This method involves low-interest bonds and spreads the cost over 15 years to, again, avoid having costs hit bills all at once.
- Record-setting usage – the months of May and June have seen very high temperatures. In fact, according to the National Weather Service, May was the second warmest on record for New Orleans and the fourth warmest on record for Baton Rouge. As I indicated above, the Entergy Louisiana subsidiary of Entergy Corp. (the operating company that serves customers in Louisiana outside of Orleans Parish) saw a new all-team peak usage record the week of June 20. Point being: Customers have been using significant amounts of power, and when usage goes up, so can bills.
“And so that’s why we tell customers to please consider taking steps around your home to lower your energy consumption, be more energy-efficient because if you lower that usage, you’re going to save money on your utility bills,” said Freese.
If customers have already received a high bill, there are several ways to potentially manage the costs:
- Level Billing – Entergy averages your bill over a rolling 12-month period, so you have a consistent bill each month of the year. Pay about the same every month, with no surprises.
- Pick-A-Date – Choose what day of the month you get billed to line up with your budget and manage your cash flow.
- Deferred Payment – Talk with us about your situation and we may be able to make deferred payment arrangements. Call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749).
- Payment Extension – Qualifying customers who need additional time to pay their bill can call our automated answering system at 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) or request an extension through myEntergy.
- Power to Care – Through Entergy’s The Power to Care program, local nonprofit agencies can provide emergency bill payment assistance to seniors and disabled individuals in crisis.
- LIHEAP – LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) is a program that provides money to help people with energy bills and other energy-related expenses. LIHEAP is funded through the federal government and works with the community action agencies to help customers pay for and keep electric service in their homes. For information on how to apply for assistance, visit the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s energy assistance page.
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