BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) – Entergy Louisiana told utility regulators on Wednesday it owed up to $ 4.4 billion to rekindle the lights after a series of storms and needed a $ 1 billion loan dollars to cover these short-term costs.
The Advocate reports that the utility company – which provides electricity to about half of Louisiana’s customers – could potentially increase user fees from $ 11 to $ 15 per month to pay off debt over a period of up to $ 15 per month. go up to 15 years.
Entergy has served most of the 1 million homes and businesses that lost power when Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana on August 29 as a Category 4 hurricane. But the Storm Restoration Fund The business is depleted and bills are coming in for the nearly 30,000 linemen and laborers brought to Louisiana from across the country to restore power.
The five-member Civil Service Commission accepted the loan, as long as the costs are not included in what clients will ultimately have to pay for the storm recovery.
“These bills keep coming in. It will help pay for it and it will put us in a better financial position,” Phillip R. May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, told the panel.
May said the company suffered $ 2 billion in damage from multiple hurricanes in 2020 and Ida added $ 2 billion to $ 2.4 billion more. Entergy Louisiana doesn’t generate $ 4.4 billion in revenue for an entire year, according to The Advocate.
The cost of turning the lights back on after a thunderstorm is paid by utility customers. But analyzing which charges are conservative takes time, so the official order that will add the amount to monthly bills is still a year or two away.
Once the Civil Service Commission approves the debt amount, Entergy will add a monthly supplement to clients’ bills to pay off that loan debt.
Depending on the structure of debt payments, customers could see monthly bills of around $ 11 to $ 15 per month for 15 years, according to Mark D. Kleehammer, Entergy’s vice president of regulatory affairs.
Civil Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, a Democrat from Bossier Parish, praised Entergy for coming back to power more quickly after Ida. But he added, “You’re about to tattoo them $ 15 a month for 15 years. That’s a lot of money.”
The amount of debt could be reduced if the federal government provides disaster recovery assistance to help cover the costs of restoring electricity, as requested by Governor John Bel Edwards.
May noted that Congress does not often give money to private companies. He and Kleehammer recently met with the state’s Congressional delegation and other lawmakers asking them to overcome their reluctance, saying the help would help customers, not the business.
“Considering the number of low and moderate income clients that we have, this relief is extremely important,” said May.
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