|Tyler County Booster - Local News
Stories Added - October 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Entergy Bills To Increase
Tyler County Booster - October 2009
Starting in December, Entergy Texas customers will see their monthly electric bills increase by an average of $5.40 after the Public Utility Commission gave the utility permission Thursday to “securitize” its Hurricane Ike repair costs with the sale of highly rated, low-interest bonds. Last month Entergy Texas reached a tentative settlement of $550 million in storm repairs, but that figure was reduced to $545 million following negotiations between the Beaumont-based utility and consumer groups. The repair fee of $5.40 is based on residential customers’ use of 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each month. The storm “rider” will appear on Entergy Texas statements for 14 years, meaning residential customers will pay an average total of $907.20. Initially it was anticipated Entergy Texas customers would pay $6 $7 per month in repair costs, but that amount was lowered after the company agreed to a refund because of the corporate tax savings it received through the securitization process, said Stephen Mack, attorney with the Austin-based Lawton Law Firm.
The refund equates to an average of $1.27 per month per customer, he said. which amounts to $119 million over the 14-year period. “It is our belief that the (Entergy Texas) customers should receive that benefit,” Mack said. The Lawton firm represents many of the municipalities in Entergy Texas’ 26-county service area. Ninety-nine percent of Entergy Texas’ 395,000 customers were without power after Hurricane Ike pummeled the Texas Gulf Coast Sept. 13, 2008. The utility had complete restoration of power – excluding the Bolivar Peninsula area –12 days after the storm made landfall. The agreement was approved by all parties to the case, including the city of Conroe, Mack said. Entergy Texas Communications Manager Dave Caplan said the lower interest bonds will save approximately $144 million in interest during the 14-year period. “We’re gratified the PUCT approved the financing order,” he said.
“Ultimately it means lower interest rates and lower restoration costs for our customers over time.” Since July 2007, Entergy Texas customers have paid an average $3.85 per month for the $330 million spent to repair damages caused by Hurricane Rita in September 2005. Once Hurricane Ike repairs go into effect, the typical monthly electric charges for Entergy Texas customers will be just under $65 per 1,000 kilowatt hours used. That statement does not include any fuel charges, which are pass-through costs for customers. Meanwhile, approximately 40,000 electricity consumers in Montgomery County serviced by system provider CenterPoint Energy are paying an average $1.83 a month for 14 years as part of that company’s $663 million in Hurricane Ike repairs.