Entergy wants customers to pony up for plant expansion

August 13, 2008 at 9:13 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Entergy says that paying for the expansion now will benefit customers in the long-run.
courtesy photo
Entergy says that paying for the expansion now will benefit customers in the long-run.
The hot and sticky summer weather won't be going away anytime soon, and neither will those high energy bills that most residents have been complaining about.

And those bills could get even higher if the Public Service Commission allows Entergy to charge residents for the construction costs of Little Gypsy's $1.4 billion expansion.

Entergy Customer Service Manager Doug Rhodes says that's something the commission is now considering. However, Rhodes says that this would actually help out customers in the long-run.

“Allowing the company to recover a portion of the costs during construction reduces the overall project cost for customers by reducing the amount of interest that customers will have to pay after the unit is complete,” he said.

The Public Service Commission recently allowed utility company Cleco to charge customers for a portion of the construction costs associated with its petroleum coke plant.
“The Public Service Commission still has to decide whether or not they will allow us to do this,” Rhodes said. “People don't want those costs built into their bill, but they will come out cheaper in the long run if we charge them throughout the construction phases.”

Right now though, most residents are just trying to get their bills lowered. Rhodes says there are a couple of ways to do that.

“Normally, this is the high use time of the year,” Rhodes said. “Keep your thermostats set at 78 degrees.”
Rhodes says that keeping the thermostat at that amount can save money.

“Lowering the temperature below 78 can increase the bill three to five percent for every degree the setting is lowered to cool a home,” he said.

Another high-cost item in the home is a water heater.
“What some people don't realize is even the water heater in the home can make light bills costly,” he said. “I recommend that customers purchase an automatic timer to place on the hot water heater, but the device should be installed by an electrician.”

Rhodes said the customer can purchase the timer at a local hardware store.
“It allows the hot water heater to remain off while you're at work,” he said. “It's preset to the time the customer returns home, so that it will not be left on and running the whole day.”

And while lowering the thermostat and adding a timer to a water heater can lower the bills, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have made energy more expensive.

“The hurricane surcharge was initially put into the base rate for all Entergy customers two years ago,” Rhodes said. “At the request of the Public Service Commission, we listed the charge as a separate line item to be reflected on the bill, but the charge has always been included in the base rate.”

Rhodes says the hurricane surcharge is to pay for the recovery cost of both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and also to provide funding for future disasters.

A fuel adjustment charge is also listed on the bills.
“The fuel adjustment charge is the amount that it costs Entergy to generate electricity for its customers,” he said. “All of our generating sources are averaged into that charge, but we don't make any profits off of that amount after we bill the customers.”

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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