|Big Thicket Messenger - Local News
Stories Added - July 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Big Thicket Messenger - July 2008
Beaumont – With rising energy prices dramatically impacting electric utility customers across the nation and in Southeast Texas, Entergy Texas, Inc. officials this year are once again making a deferred payment program available to qualified customers to help them manage high summer bills.
“High prices are hitting us all especially hard this summer, a time when electric bills go up anyway because of cooling costs,” noted Stan Foley, Customer Service Manager. “Low-income and special health needs customers are going to be among the hardest hit. That’s why we are committed to working with these customers to help them manage their bills without fear of disconnection this summer.”
Entergy Texas will place qualified customers who contact the company with the appropriate information on a deferred payment program. This means they will not be subject to disconnection until the program ends in September. Those eligible include low-income, low-income elderly, aged 65 and up, and those with health needs who are classified as critical care residential customers.
Foley emphasized that the program does not waive monthly charges – it only defers payment for a specified period of time. Additionally, customers must contact the utility and meet criteria to be eligible for the assistance.
In order to be considered for the program, customers must contact Entergy regarding bill payments or in response to a disconnection notice. Customers may call 1-800-ENTERGY and speak to a customer service representative for information about the program.
Those who qualify for the plan will not be disconnected before the end of September. A deferred payment plan could be set up for up to five months. Failure to live up to the deferred payment arrangement will result in disconnection of service.
Income levels and age will be verified. Critical care customers must provide appropriate medical documentation, which could include a physician’s signature.
The average 1,000 kilowatt-hour bill costs an Entergy Texas customer about $122, much of that for fuel, which is a pass-through charge. The company does not earn a profit on fuel costs and can only adjust what it charges customers periodically. No increases are expected before the September billing cycle when rising natural gas prices will precipitate a increase in fuel costs on customer bills.
Natural gas prices have almost doubled since last year, leaving utility companies that depend on the once-inexpensive fuel source to generate electricity working hard to keep costs as low as possible in the face of this national crisis.
“We recognize the challenges that increased costs create for our customers, especially with the price of gasoline, food, and other necessities on the rice,” said Foley. “This is especially true for those with low incomes.”
Entergy Texas customers are encouraged to go to Entergy’s website, www.entergy-texas.com where they can sign up for “My Account Online”. The new feature allows customers to view and pay bills online and manage their accounts. Customers are also encouraged to follow the Web site link to Ensight, an online source for energy management information and various calculators to help determine energy use and possible areas for energy saving.
Entergy Texas provides electricity to 395,000 customers in 26 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily to electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenue of over $11 billion and approximately 14,3000 employees.