After days below freezing, customers hit with high utility bi - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

After days below freezing, customers hit with high utility bills


NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Entergy customers found themselves staring at their most recent bill in shock.

"When I opened the mail, the bill is $408," said Maria Chriss.

In some cases, bills have doubled and even tripled. Entergy says the reason for the increase is simple.

"The bills are being driven by usage, which is being driven by the colder weather," said Toni Green-Brown.

Near-freezing temperatures before and during the holidays caused a lot of people to kick on the heat. The cold snap continued through January, and customers need to be aware that they haven't seen the bill yet from last week and this week's freezing temperatures.

"It's just getting worse and worse. I don't know how we are going to survive," Chriss said.

Entergy is advising customers to set their thermostats on 68.

"Because every degree above 68 adds three percent to your bill, so if you're at 78, you've added a third of your cost," said Green-Brown.

The most recent bill caught a lot of people off guard, and forced some to turn to programs like Total Community Action for help.

"We usually see a high peak of need and usage in the summer in this area because of the high heat, but this year, because of really low temperatures, we're experiencing a lot of families with bills three times the average," said Thelma French.

The program helps those in need twice a year, but French believes the demand will continue to grow throughout the winter and then again in the summer.

"They are desperate for assistance because they're afraid of losing their service from a disconnect because they can't make their bills," French said.

At Entergy's office, customers are streaming in to pay as much as they can on this month's bill, but many are nervous about the next one they'll have to deal with.


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