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Higher light bills likely this summer | News

All of Louisiana, will see higher electrical bills this summer due to higher natural gas costs and costs related to repairing and rebuilding utility grids after natural disasters during the past two hurricane seasons.

Entergy Louisiana customers who consume 1,000 kilowatts per hour could see their monthly utility rates increase by $25 this month. 

Entergy said it would defer approximately $10 of that increase on the June bill.

A combination of added costs from the past year’s natural disasters and the global spike in natural gas costs also have triggered the increases for Entergy.

Entergy, in a notice to consumers, said natural gas prices in April were more than double those in April 2021 and three times higher than 2020.

“As a result, these higher-than-normal costs will be seen on customer bills as increases to the fuel adjustment throughout the summer months and until there is some relief on this commodity pricing,” Entergy said. 

“We will continue to work with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to spread out natural gas costs over several months, rather than placing them all on one bill.”

The increase also comes from the impact from 2020 and 2021 weather events, which rank among the worst on record. 

“Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida, along with Winter Storm Uri, brought unprecedented damages to every corner of the state,” according to Entergy.

The widespread damages prompted major rebuilds to the electrical infrastructure, according to Entergy. 

Dr. Craig Greene, who represents District 2 on the Public Service Commission, said the increases were inevitable.

“I think it is important that people brace for reality. Entergy’s notification utilizes an average customer of 1,000 kilowatt hours, but, especially during Louisiana summers, it is difficult for any customer to use that little electricity,” he said.

“It is more likely that customers need to be prepared for at least $30 or $40 increases to their bill from rising gas prices and around $15 from storm charges.”

How to ease the brunt?

Even in the summer months, minor adjustments can lead to significant savings on a power bill according to Myron Lambert, general manager of Pointe Coupee Electric.

Summer increases often catch residents off guard, he said. Customers may have used 800 kilowatt hours (kWhs) in mild spring temperatures, then get into May and June and they have used 1,700 kilowatt hours,  but don’t understand the increased usage, Lambert said.

“The increased usage of kWhs comes with the air-conditioner being set at 68 degrees. They can save themselves significant kilowatt usage by having the thermostat at 72-78 degrees and having a fan,” he said. 

“The fan doesn’t provide cooling but can help your comfort. Keeping blinds and drapes closed to keep the heat out also helps.”

“During the day when no one is home, raise the thermostat to 78 … maybe 72-78 at night; this would significantly help,” he said.

PCE donates annually to the Pointe Coupee Parish Council on Aging to help elderly residents burdened by higher utility rates. The Council on Aging prioritizes and assists seniors who need help on utility bills.

PCE also offers payment plans for consumers when requested, Lambert said.

 

Read More: Higher light bills likely this summer | News

2022-06-22 23:52:00

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