NEW ORLEANS — Representatives with Entergy spoke before the New Orleans City Council on Tuesday morning.
They said several things are to blame for what some customers are saying are sky high bills.
“You have this convergence of factors that have caused the recent uptick in bills," Entergy New Orleans Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Courtney Nicholson said.
The first thing Entergy mentioned were temperatures.
Entergy said southeastern Louisiana set records in June with average daily temperatures higher than anything we've seen since 2011.
Other factors include bill credits from a previous settlement that were being applied to customer bills expired in March.
Entergy also said Grand Gulf, the nuclear plant that supplies Entergy power, was offline between February and May for refueling.
During that period, Entergy had to buy more fuel than normal at a higher cost due to rising fuel prices.
“There’s not much any of us in this room can do to control those prices," Nicholson said.
Meanwhile, it's leaving folks like Ponchatoula resident, Tom Wenger, feeling helpless.
"It went from $266 to $527 dollars," Wenger said, "I am living on a fixed income. Fortunately, I can pay this. It makes it tight for this month, but what is next month going to be? $800?"
One New Orleans woman, Denise Bickham, told the council that Entergy had a program using gadgets years ago that helped, but she was told they've since cut the program."
“It has on it the projected dollar and cents and your actual dollar and cents," Denise Bickham said explaining the device.
Now, Bickham said she doesn't trust her bill.
“My bill right now is $461 for a very small 1,300 square feet home," Bickham said.
Both of these southeastern Louisiana residents have doubt almost as high as their bills.
“Be trustworthy and clear to people. You claim you’re trying to help. Really? Are you really trying to help? I don’t think so," Bickham said.
Wegner said he believes customers are footing the bill for strengthening the grid after recent storms.
“I just don’t trust Entergy," Wegner said.
Entergy suggested things to help lower your bill, including keeping your home at 78 degrees when you're not there.
Wegner said that's not feasible for everyone.
"I've got MS, so I am disabled, and I have to have the A/C running," Wegner said, "Heat incapacitates me.”