Entergy customers brace for possible bill increase
BATON ROUGE - Higher Entergy bills might be coming to a mailbox near you as the company sets to meet the demands of Louisiana's booming industrial renaissance. Entergy is looking at ways to create more power for the state.
New plants and plant expansions need more electricity and new power plants may need to be built to supply that energy. It's new industrial customers include multi-billion dollar chemical and LNG facilities. Entergy has already bought a plant in El Dorado, Ark. and a new plant in Westwego will go online soon. The state still needs to supply 1,000 megawatts by 2016, when most of the new customers come online and need power.
"It will help modernize with new, clean and highly-efficient power plants," said Entergy Spokesman Michael Burns. "We'll be able to do that and still keep our customers costs among the lowest in the nation."
Entergy says customers will see an increase in bills, but plan to mitigate that as much as possible.
"We believe growing power sales from an expanding economy will allow us to spread the cost of these new investments over a larger base, reducing the impact to all customers," said Burns.
Entergy says all options are on the table. It's looking at building new plants, replacing old ones, buying existing ones, or signing contracts to buy power from other areas. The initial cost is in the billions, all to move electricity to where the new facilities need it.
"The need for power will grow along with the economy," said Burns. "As long as the state's economy grows, there will be a need for additional power and we'll be ready to meet that, as it occurs."
By 2019, Entergy estimates it will need an additional 1,600 megawatts to meet the industrial curve. The boom will create jobs.
Entergy customers are concerned about the potential increase and are anxious to know what the additional cost will be.
"We have a lot of elderly people who just can't afford, even know, to pay their energy bills, so what happens to them?" said Joseph Moore.
"If they're hiking the prices, I don't approve," said Bill Linzer.
There is no time frame as to when Entergy customers could see an increase on their bill, or how much.