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Getting Answers: Why are Entergy utility bills so high?

Electrical utility
Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 17:37:28-05

LAFAYETTE, La.  — KATC is getting answers after many viewers have contacted us about why they are seeing such high utility bills from Entergy in the last few months.

KATC reached out to Entergy about the higher bills, and they responded that this could be due to colder weather from December 2020.

According to Brandon Scardigli, an Entergy spokesperson, customers receiving bills in January 2021 are largely being charged for usage from December 2020.

Scardigli says that according to their data, December 2020 was much colder than December 2019. The data shows there were double the number of very cold days with low temperatures of 40 degrees or below in December 2020 as compared with December 2019 — 16 and 8 respectively.

Extremely cold weather, among other factors like poor insulation, can cause a home’s heater to work harder leading to increased energy usage and potentially higher than normal bills, he says.

KATC also asked about advanced meters being installed for Entergy customers and if this may have an impact on their monthly bills.

Entergy Louisiana began a phased approach to deploying advanced metering infrastructure including the installation of advanced meters for electric customers and smart modules for gas customers in 2018.

Scardigli says that some Entergy customers received new meters in December at a time when the weather was colder, and that colder weather is just one factor that can increase energy usage and lead to higher than normal bills.

“I often like to equate it to using a thermometer when you’re sick,” says Scardigli. “The advanced meter is much like the thermometer in that it takes measurements. When you’re sick, your temperature may go up and so will the reading on the thermometer.

“If you apply that analogy to your home and meter, your meter will read higher usage based on factors behind the meter — like your home’s heater going into overdrive during the winter or it taking more energy to heat your hot water tank because of lower temperatures,” he adds.

According to Entergy, the new advanced meters are tested prior to, during and after installation to ensure functionality and accuracy. However, in some cases, legacy meters that have been running over a long period of time can become less steadfast. And, if a customer had an older, analog meter prior to receiving their new advanced meter, there is the possibility that their older meter was reading under the actual usage.

Scardigli also offers tips for customers to reduce their monthly bills, which include setting their thermostats to 68 degrees in the winter months; seal air leaks; keep air circulating; and opening curtains and blinds to let in sunlight.

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