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Entergy under fire for outages during extreme heat

9 months 1 week 1 day ago Wednesday, August 16 2023 Aug 16, 2023 August 16, 2023 6:24 PM August 16, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Entergy customers can't seem to catch a break from the excessive heat. Recently, customers have complained of their power going out without explanation for sometimes days on end.

Thursday, the company went in front of the Louisiana Public Service Commission to find a solution. Some customers wonder if it's enough. 

April White is an Entergy customer who says twice in the past two weeks, her power has gone out for more than six hours at a time.

"The excessive outages are just ridiculous. It's miserable," White said.

When White reached out to Entergy about why the power went out, the company didn't give an explanation.

"For the amount of money that they are charging us for their services, they can't seem to maintain and keep our power on," she said.

Wednesday, the Public Service Commission confronted Entergy's executives about the irregularities. Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis was adamant that something had to change. 

"At the end of the day everything that we vote on, everything that we talk about, every standard that we pass, every general rule that we initiate, is making a decision about whether somebody can survive," Lewis said.

Entergy says that a lot of factors contribute to power outages including downed trees and general damage to the equipment from being exposed to the elements.

"The extreme heat has an effect on the infrastructure," an executive from Entergy said.

The commission says that's not an excuse, and that Entergy needs to communicate better with customers during outages to help alleviate their emergency concerns.

"At the five, six o'clock hour after the call centers are done, they're just looking at like, 'Should I get a hotel? Should I go to my family's house?' I think if we can find some way to improve, just slightly the generic information, just to make sure people can make real-time decisions, that would go a long way," Lewis suggested to Entergy.

Customers at the hearing say even before the 2023 record heat, Entergy outages have persisted while their bills have only gone up. 

"Entergy needs to respect the hard-working citizens of East Baton Rouge," April White said. "They work hard, and they have to pay these egregious utility bills. They can at least maintain the equipment and services for the citizens."

In an effort to protect customers during the record-breaking heat, the company is not shutting off power while Louisiana is in a declared extreme heat state of emergency. 

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