Entergy representative provides updates to Ascension Parish Council
Aaron Lodge represented electricity provider Entergy during a presentation at the Ascension Parish Council meeting held Aug. 18 in Gonzales.
Lodge addressed the higher bills customers have seen during the sweltering summer months and talked about potential projects on the horizon.
He said severe weather has impacted the region, causing the company to reevaluate and adapt as it works to strengthen the electric grid.
Lodge told council members about the more than $270 million in potential investments over the next decade identified for Ascension Parish.
A current project underway is the Gonzales feeder hardening project, which is a $2.6 million investment. It includes some 3.8 miles of line, about 140 structures, and more than 1,960 residential, commercial, and industrial customers, including the Our Lady of the Lake Ascension Hospital.
A map he presented showed work along Hwy. 30 in Gonzales through S. Purpera Ave. to Airline Highway.
"The unique thing about this project is it will give us the ability to be able to back feed other customers, being Lamar-Dixon, Cabela's, Tanger Outlet, and some of those customers in that area. Those are the kinds of redundancies we are putting in all across the system," Lodge said.
A potential project he talked about would be a $2.8 million investment in the Geismar area on the west side of Interstate 10. The potential work would include much of Hwy. 30 in Geismar. It would cover some 4.7 miles, include around 143 structures, and impact more than 2,200 customers.
On the west side of the Mississippi River, a $3 million potential project would cover the City of Donaldsonville. It includes about 3.4 miles of line, some 191 structures, and impacts more than 1,425 customers. The map showed much of St. Patrick Street and Mississippi Street in Donaldsonville.
Keeping informed during storms
In the event of a storm or hurricane, he encouraged customers to stay informed through Entergy's many channels of communication.
Suggestions included: signing up for notifications at myEntergy.com, preparing with information from entergystormcenter.com, checking social media updates through entergy.com/socialmedia, and viewing outages at entergy.com/viewoutages.
What has been causing high electricity bills?
Lodge said the unusually high power bills have been driven by multiple reasons. He pointed to the spike in inflation, record-setting summer heat, increased usage, natural gas prices, and storm recovery costs.
He pointed out that Entergy does not profit from natural gas prices or storm recovery costs.
Another impact he mentioned was the war between Russia and Ukraine, which drove down supply.
Bill help, energy efficiency
Lodge said Entergy offers several ways to help customers struggling with the high cost of powering their homes.
- Entergy has committed $10 million to bill payment assistance programs for residential programs.
- Convenience fees for payments to third-party vendors will be credited back.
- Organized employee volunteers to conduct efficiency and weatherization events in some neighborhoods.
- Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans partnered with Louisiana United Way to offer a one-time $150 credit.
Other options include level billing, payment extension, and deferred payment arrangement.