Entergy CEO answers questions about high bills

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Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 6:29 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As temperatures rise, energy bills tend to go up as well.

Phillip May, the president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, says June saw the all-time peak for energy usage.

“We have seen a significant increase in consumption... that heat wave is really contributing to how much those air conditioners are running,” May said.

Natural gas is also impacting electric bills.

“Natural gas prices, you know (are) two or three times what we have seen in the recent past, and obviously because we burn natural gas and our generating plants that are contributing to the cost,” May said.

But high temperatures and natural gas prices are impacting the whole country, according to May.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, residents have to prepare for major storms.

“A storm like Ida we had to go out and borrow $2.5 billion. That is a huge amount of money and the only way we’re able to do that is to have a financially healthy company, so doing things like paying dividends and so forth allows us to provide confidence to lenders that they will get their money back, and so having the ability to go out and borrow that money, be able to bring in 26,000 (linemen) as we did during Hurricane Ida, allows our economy to get back up and running sooner, which is great for Louisiana,” May said.

Even when people are struggling, Entergy is allowed to earn up to 9.5% profit.

“The way the rates are set is based upon our investment. We’re allowed to earn up to 9 1/2 percent when things happen, like hurricanes and so forth that affect our profit rate and so, for instance, last year is about a $70 million hit because of the hurricane we had and so our actual earnings are far less than a nine and a half percent. It’s not guaranteed, there are risks there, and as you can see from earnings, yes, we’re not earning the nine and a half percent,” May said.

May said they understand people are struggling and want to help.

“We hear you. We’re here to help. If you’re having problems paying your bill, please contact us. We can put you on an extended payment plan if you work with us and attempt to pay those bills, we will not disconnect you and want to make sure you stay connected,” May said.

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