State agency wants Entergy to investigate new meters as customers report surging bills
BATON ROUGE - After reports of Entergy bills doubling following a meter replacement, the Public Service Commission says it's asking Entergy to take a closer look to see if anything abnormal is happening and in need of correcting.
"Was it a shift from the analog meters to the digital and now they're reading more accurately? Is it that it's been a colder winter?" Commissioner Dr. Craig Greene said.
Green said the spike in bills is likely linked to usage, but the PSC is making sure there's no glitch in the transition from old meters to new ones. The PSC has asked Entergy to dive deeper into what's happening.
"We have asked Entergy to give us a report, and then we're going to scrutinize that report," Greene said. "We just want to do the math and see if there's any problems. Or does it make sense?"
This week, 2 On Your Side heard from customers in multiple parishes about their billing concerns. Willie Mae Hall in Walker says her bill nearly doubled.
"I was like, is this like real?" she said.
Hall has lived in her home for 15 years and says her bill of $381 is the highest it's ever been. She tells 2 On Your Side that she doesn't recall doing anything out of the ordinary with her electricity recently and doesn't use the heat very often.
"We don't really run the heat that much," she said. "Normally my bill for the wintertime is like right at $200. For it to go up to $380, that's crazy!"
An Entergy customer in Denham Springs had a similar experience. DeAnna Charett says her Entergy meter was swapped out for a new one in the last few weeks. The latest electric bill she received was $344, and she says it's the highest it's ever been.
"I noticed talking to people in the subdivision via Facebook groups and other things that everything has jumped for this month," Charett said.
Entergy says it can't determine what is driving a customer's bill high without working with them individually there are a number of factors. They include weather, the condition of the structure being cooled or heated, or how warm or cold a customer keeps their house. The new advanced meters are tested prior to, during, and after installation to ensure functionality and accuracy.
Entergy says in some cases, legacy meters that have been running over a long period of time can become less steadfast. If a customer had an older, analog meter prior to receiving their new advanced meter, there is the possibility that their older meter was reading under the actual usage.
Advanced meters will provide a number of future benefits, including new online tools to help customers better manage their energy usage and potentially save money on their bills, improved customer service due to the deeper level of insight into customers’ energy usage, quicker and more accurate detection of outages, and faster connection and disconnection of service.
If a customer is concerned about their bill or has questions regarding their new advanced meter, they are encouraged to call 1-800-ENTERGY.
The PSC says it plans to review the information from Entergy prior to its next meeting.
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