BUSINESS

City of Plaquemine reports low summer electric rates

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

PLAQUEMINE - Plaquemine City Light and Water's residential electric rates were lower Entergy and numerous other Louisiana electric companies rates this summer, according to a rate comparison released by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

For July Plaquemine's rate for 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity was $97.08, while Entergy charged $98.23 for 1,000-kilowatt hours.

Plaquemine's rate also beat out Concordia, Beauregard, Jeff Davis, Pointe Coupee Electric, SWEPCO, Entergy Louisiana and Cleco, which charged from $98.71 to $120.31 for 1,000-kilowatt hours.

For August, Plaquemine's rate for 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity was $94.31, while Entergy charged $97.83 for 1,000-kilowatt hours.

Plaquemine's rate beat out DEMCO, Pointe Coupee Electric, Beauregard, Jeff Davis, SWEPCO, Entergy Louisiana and Cleco, which charged from $95.65 to $118.67 for 1,000-kilowatt hours in August.

"We have been telling customers that Plaquemine electric rates are consistently competitive with Entergy and other electric utility companies in this region, but this shows we provided very good electrical rates even in the hottest months of the summer," said Mayor Mark "Tony" Gulotta.

"Residents may get confused because we put up to four services – electric, water, natural gas and sewer – all on one bill for them, but Entergy bills them only for electricity and gas services. The good news for Plaquemine customers is that we are providing very good rates while we maintain local control, which results in better customer service."

Plaquemine's electrical system has made strides in recent years, and continues making significant improvements without charging customers higher rates.

The city has completed some $350,000 in power line upgrades and is presently spending $6 million on a new transformer for the electric system in order to improve the reliability of the system.

In addition, the city has taken steps to keeping electrical rates stable for years to come by committing to participate in the construction of a new power plant to be built by the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority.

LEPA announced on Oct. 17 that it has completed the sale of $120,770,000 in revenue bonds for the final stage of design and construction of a new natural gas fired electrical power plant.

Plaquemine, Morgan City, Houma, Jonesville, Rayne and Vidalia, all LEPA member municipalities, have committed to participate in the project by entering into long term power sales agreements for the plant's power output.

"The plant will provide us with competitively priced electrical power that will reduce our reliance on older, more costly electric supply options," Gulotta said. "It stabilizes our electrical costs for years to come."

LEPA expects to award a contract for the engineering, procurement and construction of the plant in January 2014, with construction projected to begin in April 2014 and completion in late 2015.