Entergy New Orleans says it will institute temporary moratorium on electric shut-offs
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Entergy New Orleans said late Monday (July 25) that it will institute a temporary moratorium on electric service shut-offs for delinquent customers struggling to pay skyrocketing summer bills.
The New Orleans City Council’s utilities committee had proposed a 90-day reprieve from service cut-offs and had asked Entergy New Orleans officials to attend a meeting Tuesday to discuss their plan. The Alliance for Affordable Energy joined in the committee’s request, saying a moratorium during the peak summer months and hurricane season could save lives.
Whether Entergy New Orleans officials will still attend the meeting is unclear, since the power provider issued a statement late Monday preemptively agreeing to the committee’s request.
“We are very sensitive to the challenges our customers are facing during this historic period of inflation, rising national energy costs and record electricity usage,” the statement said. “We are aligned with the Council on the need to provide assistance and will implement the Council’s shut-off moratorium.”
Some New Orleans ratepayers say they are feeling the pinch from high utility bills, and when they went to Entergy to complain, they found they were not alone.
Louisiana Entergy customers crushed by high power bills
Entergy customer billed even with power disconnected from hurricane-ravaged home
High Entergy bills breaking the bank for customers across the state
“There was a lot of people,” said customer Jaronda Wilson of New Orleans. “They had a couple people whose lights were off. I was just listening. Heartbreaking.”
Due to fears that electrical shut-offs over unpaid bills could produce life-threatening heat, especially for the elderly, the utilities committee drafted a resolution calling for a three-month moratorium on service terminations.
“The temperatures we are dealing with are extreme, and one day without power could be deadly for people in vulnerable situations,” said New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno.
Entergy New Orleans has blamed price increases on the temporary shutdown of the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant, soaring natural gas prices, and record-high June heat. But the Alliance for Affordable Energy says the moratorium is appropriate.
“We are absolutely in favor of a shut-off moratorium, given the extreme heat. In the most active part of hurricane season, no resident should be without life-sustaining power because of Entergy’s high bills,” said Jesse George with the Alliance for Affordable Energy.
A council resolution often doesn’t have the force of law. But since it’s an Entergy New Orleans matter and the council is the utility’s regulator, Moreno said any resolution ultimately passed can be enforced.
“If a resolution is adopted by a majority of the City Council, then they are ordered to put a moratorium on shut-offs,” said Moreno.
Moreno said she is also asking the state Public Service Commission to consider a similar moratorium, prohibiting Entergy Louisiana from shutting off customer power across the state.
See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Click Here to report it. Please include the headline.
Copyright 2022 WVUE. All rights reserved.