Entergy customer billed even with power disconnected from hurricane-ravaged home
She says the lines have been cut and nothing is feeding into the home
AVONDALE, La. (WVUE) - Entergy bills are strangling customers’ wallets across the state. One Avondale family finds it particularly egregious because their power has been disconnected since Hurricane Ida destroyed their home roughly 11 months ago.
“They came right after the hurricane into the neighborhood to restore electricity and they cut the lines right here,” Leigh Achee describes as she showed the lines cut from her meter.
Achee says no electricity is being fed to her house because they believed it would be a fire hazard after a tree came crashing through the home, destroying it.
“They can’t communicate with it [the meter] so they’re making up a bill. Just whatever they think that we’re using, even though it’s impossible,” Achee said.
The screen of her smart meter remains blank, but her online account displays quite a few numbers. It’s over $2,200 Entergy say she owes.
“They said they’re gonna get somebody to look into it every month when we call and every month nobody comes here to see there’s no power going there,” Achee said.
She says the amount due was $1,400 more before she got her FEMA trailers hooked up to a separate box.
“They basically blackmailed us and said if you don’t pay the bill in full, we’re not coming out to put the new box and we had to pay that bill,” Achee said.
If you take a look at social media, there are people all over the region complaining of the same problem.
“There’s a woman that commented on my post on Facebook, she has a slab and she’s receiving a bill,” Achee said. “So, I don’t know where they’re making these numbers up at.”
There are discrepancies all over the state, adding insult to injury when the bills are doubling, even tripling.
“Our phones are literally ringing off the hook,” Foster Campbell, the Public Service Commissioner of District 5 in Northern Louisiana said.
Campbell says yes, high fuel prices are being passed onto the customer. It’s up to $6 from $2.
“They don’t make profit on that,” Campbell assured. “We do audit them and make sure.”
However, he doesn’t believe the storm recovery fee is legitimate. Campbell was the only commissioner to vote no on passing it.
“All the poles they claimed they lost, how many poles were good poles anyway? You know what I mean? How many of those systems were up to date anyway? So, if the system wasn’t up to date, they needed repair, that’s sort of Energy’s fault,” Campbell said.
He says his office is looking into that, but in the meantime he says Entergy has already gotten the $3.5 billion in bonds for the damage and will soon be requesting $1.5 billion more, meaning another increased fee.
“But here’s the problem, Entergy doesn’t pay a penny,” Campbell said. “It doesn’t cost Entergy one red cent, it costs the ratepayers.”
Campbell says the company paid out a million dollars in dividends to stockholders for three consecutive years and the CEO’s salary was raised to $17 million.
“I think they’re arrogant and I think they’re worried about their bottom line first, and then they worry about customers second,” Campbell said.
He added that he believes Entergy really needs to move towards solar and wind power. He says they’re behind the eight ball on solar and only recently got into the business.
Entergy Louisiana was unable to give us a response tonight, but pointed to the programs they offer to help customers save on energy as well as provide bill assistance.
The links below will direct you to Entergy’s resources:
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