NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Some relief is on the way for people who have been struggling to pay their Entergy bills in New Orleans.
Representatives with Entergy New Orleans approached the city council during a utilities committee meeting Tuesday to announce their support for a resolution that would impose a moratorium on power shutoffs.
The resolution comes as complaints over high utility bills mount up.
Entergy customers, like Tennisia Talley, say they have never seen their utility bills quite this high.
“Four hundred and ten dollars for the month of September… I mean, it’s unreasonable, and I mean how? I mean, my house is so small,” said Talley. “I could literally walk 18 steps from the front to the back!”
The same complaints were echoed at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re asking for some relief; that’s all I’m asking for,” said one customer.
Entergy has heard the complaints.
“Not only will Entergy New Orleans implement the council’s shutoff moratorium through November 1, but today, we are also taking additional steps and actions across the Entergy footprint to help our customers,” said Entergy New Orleans President & CEO Deanna Rodriguez.
Among those additional steps are waiving and refunding late fees for low-income customers.
However, customers still have questions as to why their bills show two-hundred-dollar increases.
“A lot of the Entergy customers, no offense to y’all, are not doing their work,” said Talley. “A lot of these accounts need to be investigated to see if they’re putting the right numbers and the right amount on these people’s bills because that’s not normal.”
Morell says part of the bill increase is because of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station outage. The council is currently involved in litigation over issues with the power plant, according to Morrell.
The councilman at-large says the council expects to pass the resolution implementing the moratorium but that it is not a long-term solution.
“There has to be a complete review of all the bills that are coming in, why these costs are spiraling at this level, and as a council, we’ve already instructed our advisors and our [Council Utilities Regulatory Office] to begin just that,” said Councilman At-Large JP Morrell.
The council will vote on the resolution during their August 4 meeting.
Entergy New Orleans is reminding customers to take advantage of their EnergySmart program, which provides cash incentives for completing eligible upgrades with measurable/verifiable energy savings.
Company representatives also said customers can call to be put on a payment plan.