Higher utility bills expected throughout Iberville Parish and state

Staff Report

Iberville Parish residents should expect higher light bills later this summer due higher natural gas costs and costs related to repairing and rebuilding utility grids after natural disasters during the last two hurricane seasons.

Entergy Louisiana customers who consume 1,000 kilowatts per hour could see their monthly utility rates increase by $25 this month.

Entergy said it would defer approximately $10 of that increase on the June bill.

Most customers will pay an average of $9 or $10 extra per month. 

Customers of Plaquemine City Light & Water will also see an increase on their utility bills, but the amount has not yet been determined.

The City of Plaquemine issued a statement on social media that “residents should try to reduce electric usage in the coming months because the City’s electrical supplier has notified us that natural gas hikes are increasing the cost of power.”

Those costs must be passed on to the consumer, according to the notice.

A combination of added costs from last year’s natural disasters and the global spike in natural gas costs have triggered the increases for Entergy.

Entergy, in a notice to consumers, said natural gas prices in April were more than double those in April 2021 and three times higher than 2020.

“As a result, these higher-than-normal costs will be seen on customer bills as increases to the fuel adjustment throughout the summer months and until there is some relief on this commodity pricing,” Entergy said in a notice to customers. “We will continue to work with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to spread out natural gas costs over several months, rather than placing them all on one bill.”

The increase also from the impact from the 2020 and 2021 weather events, which rank among the worst on record.

“Hurricanes Laura, Delta, Zeta and Ida, along with Winter Storm Uri, brought unprecedented to every corner of the state,” according to Entergy.

The widespread damages prompted major rebuilds to the electrical infrastructure, according to Entergy.

Dr. Craig Greene, who represents District 2 on the Public Service Commission, said the increases were inevitable.

“I think it is important that people brace for reality.  Entergy’s notification utilizes an average customer of 1,000 kWh, but, especially during Louisiana summers, it is difficult for any customer to use that little electricity,” he said. “It is more likely that customers need to be prepared for at least $30 or $40 increases to their bill from rising gas prices and around $15 from storm charges.”