Luling resident Charlette Becnel said she was floored when she opened her January Entergy bill.
“I’m unemployed due to COVID,” she said. “My unemployment just barely covers my mortgage and bills. I am being very cost conscious on everything. This is just devastating to my tight budget.”
Even with levalized billing, Becnel saw a $243.80 increase on her new bill – a bill which represents only two more days than the bill before it.
“The bill says that my usage more than doubled,” she said. “Impossible. Two people live in my home and we are gone 12-14 hours a day. Nothing changed.”
The only thing that did change for Becnel from December to January – Entergy replaced her old meter with a new, digital meter.
Floored while opening her January Entergy bill – it’s the same reaction Luling resident Amy Soto had.
“I find it interesting that they came a couple of weeks ago to change out my meter and now my bill is the highest it has been all year,” Soto said of her home’s new Entergy digital meter. “It hasn’t even been this high during the summer months.”
Entergy representatives have said that a small increase was expected as a fuel adjustment charge in January bills due to two power plants being down for an extended period of time. That forced Entergy to spend about $3.9 million to buy power from somewhere else, and that cost was passed onto customers.
That charge, however, should have not been enough to cause the drastic increases many St. Charles Parish residents are reporting.
Entergy New Orleans CEO David Ellis said other factors, including a 12 percent increase in the overall cost of gas, add up to increased bills.
Brandon Scardigli, a communication representative for Entergy, said there are additional factors as well.
“Customer bill increases can be a result of several factors, including individual usage and cold winter temperatures,” he said. “We’ve found that the primary driver for the increase in customer bills has been due to higher-than-normal customer usage over the past month. Also impacting customer bills is January’s bill included a longer billing cycle than December. This means that customers’ January bill included almost an additional week’s worth of usage as compared to the December bill.”
Scardigli said each case is unique and that Entergy encourages customers to reach out to them at 1-800-ENTERGY if they have questions regarding their bills.
Scardigli did not respond when asked about whether the new meters could be causing billing spikes.