High Entergy bills breaking the bank for customers across the state

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:34 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Entergy customers across the state say they’ve seen their bills double or even triple, to levels they’ve never seen before.

Many say they can’t find a reasonable explanation for the high bills. Entergy and the Public Service Commission blame high fuel prices.

“Your energy bill should not be a third of your paycheck,” Entergy customer Nancy Buckman complained.

Buckman has lived in her Metairie home for 37 years and says she’s never seen a bill this high.

“I went from $140 to having doubled,” Buckman said. “I called Entergy, I asked them if I could discuss it with them. I asked him what the fees were and they said that they have no clue what the fees mean.”

Entergy says a big reason for spiking rates are because natural gas prices are soaring.

“Even if you keep usage at the current level that you had before, there’s still increased fuel charge that leads to the increased bill,” said Sanda Diggs-Miller, vice president of Entergy Customer Service.

“I understand that,” Buckman said. “But how are they arbitrarily doubling a bill to the penny? My bill was almost doubled to the penny.”

Entergy encourages users to call their customer service lines if they wish to discuss bill increases. But some who have made such calls said they still have questions.

“Our use hasn’t changed that much,” customer Evan Troxell said. “I understand the energy costs are up. But to see a 100 percent increase in our bill is kind of drastic, kind of shocking.”

Troxell has solar panels on his New Orleans home.

“We’ve been in our home since 2016, and we’ve never seen a bill over $200,” he said. “Our past bill for June was over $200. So, we’re wondering where’s the roof on this? Where’s this gonna go?”

Entergy said other factors contributing to recent bill spikes include last month being the region’s hottest June on record, and the fact that the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant was shut down in February and March.

That plant provides nearly a third of the power supply to New Orleans. And, as of a few days ago, it was offline again. Entergy said it cannot reveal when the nuclear plant will be back online, saying that is sensitive information.

In the rest of the state, customers also are seeing a storm restoration fee to offset last year’s major hurricane damage. New Orleans’ storm restoration fee hasn’t been set yet.

Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta, who only regulates outside of New Orleans, has said the high power bills are an issue for federal officials to fix and that Entergy has the right to recover what it spends.

“We’ve seen a lot of our neighbors’ bills are going from the $200s to the $400s and even $500s,” Troxell said.

Although Entergy says its customers pay less than the national average, there’s a Facebook group with more than 18,000 members from all over the state sharing their energy bill horror stories. Some post about having monthly bills of $700 or $800, or having billing and meter errors they can’t resolve.

“They’re gouging the citizens of this state,” Buckman said.

Entergy recommends all customers sign up online for its Energy Efficiency program, a free audit to find more ways to save.

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