Area Entergy customers will see a slight increase in their July bill, but an Entergy spokesperson said that increase will likely be offset by lower fuel costs.
Lee Sabatini, with Entergy Louisiana Communications, said the rate increase helps pay for the new St. Charles Power Station.
The St. Charles Power Station is a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in St. Charles Parish, approximately 30 miles west of New Orleans. The plant is expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 675,000 typical Louisiana households throughout south Louisiana.
She said the average customer will see about a $3.48 increase in their bill.
“It’s a natural gas plant,” Sabatini said. “The natural gas plant will be among the cleanest in Entergy Louisiana’s fleet. It uses less natural gas to run.”
She said usage of the new plant will mean lower fuel costs.
“It’s true. The electric rate is going up,” she said. “The plant, which is much more efficient than our older plants, will use less natural gas to run, which in turn, will save customers money on fuel cost.”
Entergy customers will see another increase in their September bills, Sabatini said.
“The September bill impact is a result of our Formula Rate Plan filing that we are required to send to the Louisiana Public Service Commission yearly,” she said. “In fact, all investor-owned utilities in Louisiana are subject to submitting a Formula Rate Plan. Once the plan is filed, the LPSC Staff and Intervenors have an opportunity to comment on the company’s filing. Rate changes will not be implemented until September 2019, and subject to refund.”
Sabatini said a typical monthly bill for a residential customer using 1,000 kWH per month will increase approximately $3.79 for an Entergy Gulf States.
“These slight increases are primarily driven by changes to the credits provided to customers for tax reform. The rate change that will take effect in September reflects about $55 million in credits that customers will receive over the 2020 calendar year. Our customers continue to see the benefits of tax reform on an ongoing basis as well as through continued credits and the benefits of the lower tax rate.”
Sabatini said even with the increases, “Entergy customers in Louisiana have among the lowest retail rates in the nation. And, with the installation of our advanced meters, customers will soon have the ability to manage their energy consumption, leading to more energy efficiency opportunities which could lead to lower bills.”
She said Entergy is currently installing advanced meters throughout the state and the installation will continue through next year and until the end of 2021.
She offers a number of steps customers can take to save on their bill.
The top ways to save energy and keep your costs lower without sacrificing customer include:
* Get your A/C inspected to make sure your system is leak-free and operating as efficiently as possible. Don’t forget about air filters; some units require monthly cleaning or replacing.
* Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or the highest comfortable temperature. Every degree lower than 78 can raise your bill as much as 3 percent. If you crank down the A/C to a cooler 72 degrees, you’ve already increased your bill by 18 percent.
* Buy a programmable thermostat. As energy use rises, costs also rise. If you spend most of your day outside of the house, set your thermostat to automatically shut off or raise the A/C setting when you’re away.
* Use fans to cool off, but remember — fans cool people, not rooms. Ceiling fans, box fans and oscillating fans use very little electricity and circulate the air, which helps you feel several degrees cooler. To save more energy, be sure to turn them off when you leave the room.
* Close blinds, shades and curtains to keep the sun out and the cool air in. Also, close A/C vents in rooms that are not in use.
* Seal cracks and holes around doors, windows and ductwork. Inexpensive weather stripping and caulk will help keep the cold air inside the house and the hot air outdoors.
Sabatini said Entergy offers help for low-income, disabled and elderly customers. The Power to Care program is funded by donations from Entergy employees, customers and shareholders. Bill-payment assistance is also available through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. For more information, visit entergylouisiana.com.