DEMCO warns customers of cost increases, hurricane season
BATON ROUGE - DEMCO sent a note to customers Tuesday warning about the upcoming hurricane season and the higher-than-normal electricity bills users have received lately.
DEMCO listed these tips for potential power outages during the season:
-Take a moment to review and make updates to your MyDEMCO account information, to include your cell number and notification settings.
-Save the MyDEMCO outage reporting number to your mobile phone 1-844-MyDEMCO (1-844-693-3626). When you call in from the phone number associated with your account, the data received is uploaded into our outage map, which refreshes every 5 minutes.
-Visit DEMCO.org and the Outage Map to familiarize yourself with its features.
-Download the MyDEMCO mobile app.
-Do a practice run of safe set-up and operation of a portable generator; for installation of a home generator switch, contact an electrician.
-Connect with us on social media platforms.
In the second half of the address to customers, DEMCO said wholesale energy supplier CLECO Power is to blame for the rising costs.
Last summer, CLECO Power contacted DEMCO to inform us of “extraordinarily high bills for the next three months due to costs associated with closing the Dolet Hills Power Station.” In good faith I communicated this information to DEMCO membership – using our phone preamble message, in our co-op magazine, in your bill as an insert, and on the important message section and ad section of your monthly bill. I stated the ‘higher than normal cost was due to power generation decisions made by our wholesale supplier, CLECO Power’.
I asked CLECO again about these high charges in January and was told, “Dolet Hills costs are extending longer than expected”. The initial three months turned into six months and as you know, the PCA remains unusually high.
These extraordinarily high wholesale power charges have cost people living and working in DEMCO’s seven parish service area tens of millions of dollars over the past several months.
In the meantime, the price of natural gas, which CLECO Power uses to operate many of their generation plants, has skyrocketed over the past few months and driven wholesale power costs upward.
Unfortunately, any price decreases that would have resulted from the Dolet Hills plant closing costs going down have been offset by significant increases in fuel costs to produce electricity. Natural gas prices in April 2022 were more than double those in April 2021 and three times higher than April 2020.
Recently CLECO Power informed DEMCO that, “we do not expect to see this situation resolving in the near-term. Natural gas prices are projected to remain high into next year. Until natural gas prices moderate, the billings will remain high.”
With no end in sight, DEMCO said if customers want to keep their bill lower, they should use less electricity.
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