Entergy questioned about residents’ higher bills by New Orleans council committee

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 7:20 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans utility customers pleaded for help Tuesday (July 12) dealing with electric bills they say have increased dramatically this summer. The City Council is now stepping in and asking Entergy to do more to lighten their burden.

“I keep my blinds closed,” said Entergy customer Denise Bickham, who complained she lives on a fixed income but that there’s nothing fixed about her utility bill.

“I want to be dark and cool in my house. But $400 for an electric bill on a small 1,300-square foot house?”

Entergy says bill are high now because the city’s June was the hottest on record, the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant was shut down in February and March, and because natural gas prices are soaring.

“Henry hub (natural gas distribution) prices in April this year were more than double of April 2021,” said Courtney Wilson of Entergy New Orleans.

Still, Entergy says New Orleans customers pay 3 cents less per kilowatt hour compared to the national average. But some worry about high bills and elderly relatives.

“Her bill was under $100. It is now around $130 and she lives in a 1,200-square foot home,” customer Wanda Romain said of a relative’s bill.

Councilmembers challenged Entergy on having energy savings programs that require customers to opt in, rather than having these programs set up giving them the option to opt out.

“We spend a lot of money on Entergy Smart on advertising. If it were an opt-in program, you would not need to advertise it, because you would be opted in,” said councilmember J.P. Morrell.

“We have customers who don’t want to have a program imposed on them,” said Sandra Miller of Entergy New Orleans.

Many fear more rate-payer pain will come with hotter August temperatures.

But Entergy says customers could get a break, now that the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant is back online, and natural gas prices are coming down.

“The good news is we are seeing relatively cooler temperatures, which should help reduce usage and bills,” said Wilson.

Entergy says it’s Entergy Smart energy savings program remains optional and is not automatic. If you would like to know more, they ask you give them a call at (504) 229-6868. You could get an energy assessment, advice on energy savings measures, and rebates on energy saving expenses. The information also can be found online at energysmartnola.info/smart-thermostats.

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