Two utilities take steps to help customers handle high electric bills


SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Two utility companies that provide electricity to parts of the ArkLaTex are taking steps to help customers with high bills.

“June’s higher than usual temperatures, which drove record energy usage, and higher natural gas prices produced some of the highest electric bills ever seen throughout the region and nation, including the customers we serve,” says a statement from Entergy.

“If you combine this with costs on a national scale for seemingly everything, our friends and neighbors are experiencing a major financial strain right now.”

With that, Entergy announced measures Tuesday, July 26 to help customers through the summer months.

WHAT ENTERGY IS DOING

The New Orleans-based utility says it is:

  • Committing $10 million in shareholder donations applied to all Entergy utilities for bill payment assistance programs for residential customers, including The Power to Care fund;
  • Waiving late payment fees for eligible residential customers;
  • Waiving credit card payment fees for all residential customers; and,
  • Organizing employee volunteers to conduct energy efficiency and weatherization events in select neighborhoods.

Entergy provides electricity to 3 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi. More information about its efforts to help its residential customers, as well as customer resources and frequently asked questions, can be found by clicking here.

ASSISTANCE FROM SWEPCO

KSLA News 12 also reached out to Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) about its assistance programs and cutoff policy.

“We understand customers are concerned about rising electricity bills as we experience high during record-breaking heat demand,” says a statement from SWEPCO spokeswoman Tara Muck.

“If a customer is facing financial difficulties, we encourage them to reach out to our SWEPCO team now to discuss flexible payment options, which could include a payment extension and payment arrangement plans. There are also community payment assistant programs available for those who qualify.

“Taking action now can help keep bills manageable and electric service connected.”

Click here to learn more about SWEPCO’s assistance programs.

SWEPCO also offers customers the option of signing up for average monthly payments. This allows them to spread out the cost of cooling or heating their home over the whole year, thus reducing seasonal spikes that typically see during peak demand months. Customers can learn more and register by logging into their account at this address.

Lastly, Muck said, SWEPCO takes many factors into consideration before deciding to cut off residential customers’ service during extreme weather conditions. “Some of those factors are mandated by public commissions in each state. For example, we do not cut off service when there are heat advisories issued by the National Weather Service.”

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