NewsEvangeline Parish


Ville Platte residents protest rising utility bills

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Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 23:28:26-04

In Ville Platte, customers are out protesting rising costs on their energy bills.

CLECO customers in Ville Platte tell KATC they’ve seen their bill double or even triple within the last two months. We spoke to CLECO officials for answers on the rise in costs.

“We’re just in a situation where we’re trying to do the best we can with what we have. Some of us don’t even have $800. But yet, still, what are we supposed to do? Rob somebody for us to get what we need? Then they’d want to put us in jail," one customer said.

We spoke with CLECO communications strategist Fran Phoenix, who says there are a number of factors that are contributing to an increase in bills, like the 2020 hurricane season, where the company was hit with a $240 million price tag to restore power.

The ice storm in February also contributed to the rise in fuel costs during that month and following months, as well as a rise in natural gas prices. The energy rate to usage structure has also increased.

Phoenix says one of the main factors for high bills is customer usage.

“If you still have a bill from the previous month it’s just going to continue to carry over. So that’s sometimes a situation where you can get in and it’s hard to get out of, but that’s where we try to work with our customers to make sure it doesn’t happen, but sometimes it does.”

Phoenix also says there are a number of programs that offer their customers assistance with their bills like the Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance Program and LIHEAP.

“We are definitely not an entity that does not take what I call extraordinary measures to help people keep their power. Because we know electricity is essential,” Phoenix said.

Beginning Thursday, CLECO will have a window dedicated to help people with their bills - from 7:30 A.M to 3:30 P.M.

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