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Watch 2 On Your Side reports on all WBRZ News 2 newscasts: morning, noon, afternoon and evening.  Brittany Weiss is the 2 On Your Side anchor/reporter.  Check this page daily for helpful information and On Your Side reports.

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Summer sizzle felt in the form of utility bills, DEMCO explains

BATON ROUGE - Some people are fired up after their utility bills doubled compared to last month. DEMCO customers sounded off on Facebook about what's happening and called 2 On Your Side for help.

This month, DEMCO customers received bills in the mail with a different look and different account numbers. DEMCO's David Latona says some changes were made, and to be more transparent, customers will now see an itemized box with various charges. One big change people are noticing is the PCA, the Power Cost Adjustment.

"That is something that is in our rates and always has been. It's just now with our new billing system we're able to itemize that for the member so they can see that, and we can provide more transparency," Latona said.

The PCA is based on the current fuel rate from the plants where power is purchased by DEMCO. It's the market rate of the fuel necessary to generate the electricity, which over the last few months has skyrocketed. The price of natural gas and coal used to produce power has shot through the roof, and the cost is falling on the consumer.

"We do see fluctuations in the fuel, and that's nothing that DEMCO makes a profit on. That is nothing that our provider makes a profit on," Latona said. "It is a passed-through charge from that plant to the consumer."

Latona says the PCA charge has always been part of the bill, but previously it was lumped into the total cost. DEMCO also says usage goes up during the warmer months.

Some DEMCO customers report that their meters were replaced in the last month and wonder if the increase in the bill is due to that change. Previously, Latona told WBRZ that those meters might be showing a more accurate reading.

Customers can download DEMCO's smartphone app to monitor their daily usage. If a customer has a concern about their bill, they are urged to contact DEMCO. Be advised that call times could be longer than normal as team members are spending time troubleshooting individual bills.

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