Louisiana Entergy rates rise due to storms and gas costs

Most Louisiana Entergy customers will see higher rates this month due to rising natural gas costs and recent storm restoration expenses, the utility said.

Electricity rates will increase in June by $25 for an average household, the company announced on Friday.

The rate increases will affect areas covered by Entergy Louisiana, which supplies electricity to about 1.1 million customers in 58 parishes, including most of southern Louisiana, The Advocate reported.

The impact on customers of Entergy New Orleans, a subsidiary of Entergy Corp.’s Orleans Parish, remains to be seen. The New Orleans City Council is considering approving a $150 million plan to fund the company’s storm repairs, which could lead to higher customer rates.

Yovanka Daniel, vice president of customer service for Entergy Louisiana, said two categories of rate increases for June bills involve a fuel adjustment to compensate for soaring natural gas costs, and a charge to offset Restoration costs from extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida and Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

For natural gas prices, rates would increase by about $25 for a home that uses 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, officials said. However, Daniel said Entergy would pass on some of that cost to future bills to ease the burden on customers. This would represent a $10 deferral for the average customer, resulting in a $15 fuel adjustment increase on June invoices.

Utility companies regularly charge adjustment fees when faced with higher costs for their fuels, including natural gas.

Daniel said natural gas prices in April were twice as high as the same month last year and triple the rate of April 2020. The global supply of natural gas is constantly changing as countries around the world are trying to wean themselves off Russian energy due to the country’s war in Ukraine. .

“We will continue to work with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to spread natural gas costs over several months, rather than putting them all on one bill,” Daniel said.

For storm restoration costs, the average customer could see an increase of $9 to $10. The spike is part of a $3.2 billion “securitization” plan the commission approved in late February to fund Entergy’s storm restoration spending.

Coupled with the fuel tuning, that’s an extra $25 for the standard Entergy Louisiana customer.

“It is important to note that Entergy does not benefit from natural gas price increases perceived through the fuel adjustment or storm recovery costs,” Daniel wrote. “We will continue to do all we can to help those burdened by these increases with LPSC and our community partners.”

The storm surge is expected to last 15 years, according to the plan approved by Entergy Louisiana’s PSC.

“Spreading it out over several years keeps the bills affordable,” said Entergy Louisiana spokesman David Freese.

Daniel said similar charges for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were removed in 2018, and surcharges for Hurricanes Gustav and Ike will expire later this year.

Daniel said some storm damage over the past two years “required a complete rebuild of our electrical infrastructure.”

She said the PSC-approved plan is expected to save $2 billion “compared to traditional utility funding” despite customer rate increases.

“Severe storms like those seen in 2020 and 2021 are a sad reality for our part of the country and like many of you, we must also do what is necessary to recover, rebuild and strengthen our system before the next weather event.” , she said. wrote.

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